Executive Q&A: Clinical trials company owner sets grand goals

Louise Thurman, owner of IPS Research Company, conducts clinical trials that help mental illness sufferers find their way back to health.
by Paula Burkes Published: January 27, 2013
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Q: What brought you to Oklahoma?

A: I'd married my first husband and I took some time off after med school to have our two sons. When I completed my residency, they were 4 and 5, and I believed Oklahoma, who'd recruited me to teach on the faculty at the University of Oklahoma, would be a good place to raise them. My father, incidentally, is from Morris. Military service took him to California, where he met my mother. But I didn't grow up visiting here. In 1993, I moved from the San Francisco Bay Area to Edmond. Today, I live in Heritage Hills — just three blocks from work.

Q: How did you move from teaching to owning a business?

A: I taught for three years and loved it — breaking down complicated concepts into understandable and meaningful ones for students. But academia can be slow to change, and I'm not a person who does well with that. Meanwhile, more and more pharmaceutical clinical trials were being conducted in private settings. Through 1990, they were conducted solely at universities. I founded IPS — which stands for Integrity People Service — in 1996, and grew quickly to six or seven employees by the end of that first year. Today, we have a staff of 20.

Q: What are some popular brand-name drugs that your company helped test?

A. Cymbalta, which is used to treat depression and muscle and joint pain associated with fibromyalgia, and Abilify, taken for depression, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

Q: I love your snakeskin fabric jacket and orange jeans tucked into your rider cowboy boots. Do you ever wear a white doctor's coat?

A: No. I find them stiff and uncomfortable, and I'm anti-stiff. I do have a cool white leather jacket though. I put my pants on one leg at a time, like everybody else. My pants just happen to be orange. Yesterday, they were purple.

by Paula Burkes
Reporter
A 1981 journalism graduate of Oklahoma State University, Paula Burkes has more than 30 years experience writing and editing award-winning material for newspapers and healthcare, educational and telecommunications institutions in Tulsa, Oklahoma...
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PERSONALLY SPEAKING

Position: Owner, IPS Research Company

Birth date: Feb. 28, 1960

Family: Jay Thurman, married eight and half years; sons Ben Dabiri, 25, of San Francisco, and Cameron Dabiri, 23, of Norman; stepdaughter, Courtney Thurman, 22, and stepson, Chad Thurman, 20; two labradoodles, a lab-pit bull terrier mix and corgi. For years, she had rescued basset hounds

Education: California State University/Sacramento, bachelor's in biology; University of California/Davis, doctor of medicine; and San Mateo County Community Mental Health Services, residency in psychiatry

Favorite charity: HeartLine Inc., which among other things sponsors hotlines to prevent suicide and gambling. She serves on the board

Pastimes: Reading (historical fiction is her favorite); exercising (hiking, jogging, cycling and kickboxing); and periodic trips to Sonoma County, Calif., where she has a vacation home. “I'm also a huge 49ers fan. Go Niners, baby!”

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