Anthony Sunjaya, MD, PhD | Foundations of Clinical Research

Headshot of Anthony Sunjaya, MD, PhD.Anthony Sunjaya, MD, PhD, is a co-founder of Bantingmed, a diabetes care startup and is a Research Fellow in Respiratory and Health Systems at The George Institute for Global Health, University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. He has a special interest in supporting universal health coverage and improving care in low- and middle-income countries.

Originally from Indonesia, Sunjaya holds a medical degree from Tarumanagara University in Jakarta and a PhD from the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. His areas of research range from respiratory disease, cardiovascular medicine, multimorbidity and personalized medicine to clinical trials, digital health, health economics, health systems and primary care.

Making the Right Decision

Sunjaya has always been interested in clinical research but felt that he did not have the opportunity to perform research in a structured manner during his medical training. After discovering the Foundations of Clinical Research program at Harvard Medical School, he decided that the program was the right choice for his certification.

“Many programs teach you research in general, but this course focuses on the clinical research aspect and also offers electives. One of the electives that I took was Decision Science. My current project is on clinical decision support systems using digital health tools, so it very much aligns with the focus of both the elective and the program.”

Finding the Natural Fit

Foundations of Clinical Research gathers a diverse cohort of researchers from over 100 countries. Having the opportunity to build a network with accomplished professionals from across the globe was a key attraction for Sunjaya. In addition to the high caliber of the cohort, he was also impressed with the course directors’ passion for the program.

“The teaching approach was very interactive, with the faculty always thinking about our needs. That was one of the things that came to mind when I selected this program. I wanted a curriculum that fit my needs in clinical research. Being able to focus on decision science was very valuable to me.”

Working on the Abstract

During the Foundations of Clinical Research course, Sunjaya also had the unique opportunity to work on his abstract, which focused on heart failure.

He put his new skills to work while looking at risk factors and what impacts mortality in those with heart failure. “It’s something the faculty proposed and raised with us. The learnings from that case have been very useful in other projects that I’m doing and they are also applicable in today’s heart disease space.”

Applying the Knowledge

Since earning his certificate in 2022, Sunjaya has been applying what he learned in the course to his current work. His proficiency with Stata and other software allows him to do his statistical programming and his approach to making a research plan is much more structured. Looking to the future, Sunjaya hopes to take part in a long-term master’s program or a research fellow’s arrangement with Harvard Medical School.

Takeaways

“I would say to prospective applicants that this high-quality training will set a solid foundation for your clinical research. The connections you make with the cohort, with the teaching faculty and at alumni summits are invaluable in an increasingly globalized and collaborative world where research is a team sport.”