University School of Medicine Wins $4.2 Million Grant for General
Clinical Research Center at Grady Hospital
Institutes of Health have awarded a three-year, $4.2 million grant to
Emory University School of Medicine to open the first-ever General Clinical
Research Center (GCRC) in Grady Memorial Hospital. The grant, which
is renewable for additional years, brings with it the promise of innovative
treatments for Grady patients, new educational and training opportunities
for Emory and Morehouse School of Medicine students and staff, and a
large infusion of revenue for Grady's bottom line.
The GCRC will support physician-scientists
in tackling some of the most intractable problems found at Grady and
other large urban hospitals, such as fighting kidney disease caused
by sickle cell anemia, looking for new ways to treat victims of traumatic
injury, and studying new vaccines for HIV/AIDS. Many other diseases
prevalent in underserved patients will be studied in accordance with
protocols that will be considered and approved by Institutional Review
Boards to assure patient safety. New techniques developed in the center
will be applied to care in the rest of the hospital. Physicians, residents,
medical students, and nurses will rotate through the center, which will
also have a permanent core staff of nine nurses and many participating
The new center deepens a
decades-long partnership between Emory University School of Medicine
and Grady Memorial Hospital. Grady's medical staff is composed primarily
of Emory School of Medicine faculty and residents; the remainder are
faculty and residents from Morehouse. Grady is the primary clinical
training site for both Emory and Morehouse. About one of every four
physicians in Georgia have worked in Grady because of their Emory and
Unit 8A in Grady will be
made over for the GCRC, which is set to open later this month, said
Juha Kokko, M.D., Ph.D., associate dean for clinical research and Asa
G. Candler Professor of Medicine at Emory. The center will have six
inpatient beds, one outpatient bed and five infusion bays where patients
can receive intravenous medications. The new grant represents a major
source of patient care income for Grady, as well as an indispensable
vehicle for helping to develop new treatments for disease.
"A General Clinical Research
Center (GCRC) is a well-defined area in a hospital which is completely
funded by the NIH," said Dr. Kokko. "It's very unusual to find a GCRC
in a non-university-owned hospital. All patients will be completely
paid for by an outside payer, the NIH, although in some cases they might
be paid for by a pharmaceutical company or another sponsor of a clinical
study in the GCRC. Thus, the hospital as well as the patients will benefit.
In addition, Emory and Morehouse students and residents will have an
unprecedented opportunity to learn from faculty how to conduct clinical
From an administrative standpoint,
the Grady GCRC will function as a satellite to a long-established GCRC
at Emory University Hospital. The program director of the Grady GCRC
will be Lawrence S. Phillips, MD, professor of medicine at Emory. The
Grady GCRC is being funded outright by the NIH for three years, after
which it can be renewed at five year increments, contingent on the renewal
of the "parent" GCRC grant at Emory.
Edward J. Renford, president
and CEO of the Grady Health System, said that the economically disavantaged
patients who compose most of Grady's population would benefit from having
new attention paid to diseases and conditions that affect them disproportionately.
"We are enthusiastic supporters
of this initiative," he said. "The GCRC takes advantage of the distinctive
strengths and needs of all of the partners here, Grady, Emory, and Morehouse,
to create a climate of greater excellence throughout the largest and
busiest hospital in Atlanta."
Kokko said that the grant
has been designed to take into account the concerns of the patient population
served by Grady. Therefore, the grant supports the hiring of a Research
Subject Advocate, who will be an expert in health education and communications,
and a Patient Care Advocate, defined as a clinical nurse specialist
who will serve as a liaison between doctors, research oversight committees,
staff, and patients.
Both advocates will be voting
members of an Advisory Committee that will review all projects, including
consent forms, safety monitoring, and nursing care plans.
"The General Clinical Research
Center at Grady is a win-win for everyone involved," said Thomas J.
Lawley, M.D., dean of the Emory University School of Medicine. "Patients
will benefit and the hospital's bottom line will benefit. The GCRC will
have a very important impact on the treatment of patients at Grady,
as well as on the finances of the hospital."
FACTS ABOUT EMORY PHYSICIANS
IN THE GRADY HEALTH SYSTEM
- Emory is pleased to assist
the Fulton DeKalb Hospital Authority and the Grady Health System (GHS)
in providing outstanding care to the citizens of Fulton and DeKalb
counties and to citizens of other counties in Georgia. Without the
joint efforts of Emory, Grady, and Morehouse, health care for the
indigent citizens of Fulton and DeKalb counties would suffer.
- Here are some of the services
that Emory physicians working at Grady provide to the community: -
The largest Level I trauma center in the metro area. More than 85
percent of major trauma in the metro area is treated at Grady.
- The Georgia Poison Center is housed at Grady, receiving more than
100,000 calls a year from all over the state.
- The cardiology medication (coumadin) clinic is the largest such
clinic in the U.S.
- The Grady Perinatal Center is the largest of 6 such centers in Georgia.
- The Grady Infectious Disease Center is one of the largest in the
country, and one of the best.
- The Diabetes Center is recognized statewide for its work in decreasing
the rate of serious cardiovascular disease and leg amputation in diabetics.
- Emory supplies 509 faculty
physicians to GHS. These physicians represent the equivalent of 276
full time attending physicians to serve Grady and its patients. These
276 FTEs provide close to 85 percent of all the patient care delivered
- These doctors last year
attended to over 680,000 patient visits and 30,000 admissions at Grady.
- Each day 370 of Emory's
resident physicians work at Grady. These physicians are in 68 fully
accredited primary and specialty care programs.
- Because of the care provided
by Emory physicians, Grady was able to collect an estimated $245 million
in patient revenue in 2001.
- Grady's 2001 budget totalled
$532.2 million. Of the $49.3 million that Grady allocated to Emory,
Grady was directly reimbursed by federal and state agencies for over
$32 million of this amount.
- The net cost to Grady
for the Emory attending physicians, as well as resident physicians,
was about $17.3 million, or 3.2 percent of the GHS budget. This net
cost is covered by revenues Grady receives from patient care, State
disproportionate share income, and Fulton and DeKalb county subsidies.
- Forty percent (40%) of
all patients seen at Grady are uninsured and do not pay for services.
- In 2001, Emory provided
an additional $24.6 million in support for physicians, staff, and
programs at Grady.
- In 2001, the Emory physicians
working at Grady provided indigent patient care which amounted to
about $25.5 million of professional care for which there was no reimbursement.