New website consolidates access to clinical trials at Emory
A new Emory clinical trials website includes an easy-to-access database that connects potential volunteers to new clinical trials.
|Jeffrey Lennox is associate dean for clinical research in the medical school.
Potential participants can search for trials related to a specific health condition or browse topic areas such as cardiology, cancer, or the neurosciences and view quick facts about each of the individual trials available at Emory.
The new site is available to the entire Emory community as well as to interested external participants. Although many clinical trials are seeking patients who have a particular disease, many others are seeking healthy volunteers.
Information about each clinical trial includes its purpose, timing, investigators, process, and certain key eligibility criteria. Potential volunteers can click on a link to the leader of each individual trial and send a message asking to participate or requesting additional information. A link to the NIH clinical trials database is available for those seeking more detailed information.
The clinical trials website also includes frequently asked questions about volunteering and information on additional resources at Emory for potential participants.
Individuals also may register through a national database that connects potential volunteers to new clinical trials seeking volunteers. Read more.
Accelerating health services research at Emory
Earlier this month, Barrett Bowling, an MD/MSPH geriatrician, inaugurated a course to help junior faculty and fellows in medicine and nursing learn how to conduct health services research (HSR), which he defines as "a multidisciplinary field that examines how health care is organized, financed, and accessed in order to provide data, evidence, and tools to make it safe, affordable, effective, equitable, and patient-centered.
"Early-career clinicians are especially good at identifying what we sometimes call 'the elephant in the room'—meaning problems with care models and processes," says Bowling. "We want to help them learn how to take such a problem and form a research question from it, with the aim of eventually solving the problem or making the process better."
The course is taught by faculty in medicine, public health, and nursing. Participants learn how to access large data sets, whether from Emory, Children's, Grady, the Atlanta VA Medical Center, or other population-based registries. They learn about the value and necessity of partnerships in HSR, how to get funding and make time for this type of research, and finally, how to translate findings into changes to the health system.
The goal, says Bowling, is to expand capacity in HSR at Emory and to provide a forum where those with HSR interests can interact with mentors and leaders with lots of HSR experience.
Bowling's initiative is one illustration of a growing consensus of the need to exploit HSR's potential more fully at Emory, as a logical corollary to growing efforts in population health management.
HSR is an old discipline with newfound respect, says public health dean Jim Curran, who did a fellowship in this area in 1974. The "reawakening" about its importance, both here and elsewhere, he says, is due to increasing demands for accountability in health care.
In truth, HSR has long been a mainstay in public health and nursing at Emory, much of it focused nationally and internationally. Public health has consistently attracted significant HSR-related funding, and HSR has long constituted a large portion of research in the nursing school as well. "Nurses have always studied processes and systems," says nursing dean Linda McCauley.
HSR that goes beyond public health and nursing and that focuses specifically on improving health care models and processes at Emory, however, has been more ad hoc, with pockets here and there, notably in the transplant center and in various other specialties.
In general, the case for more HSR is compelling for a number of reasons. For one thing, the funding environment is favorable. According to David Stephens, WHSC VP for research and chair of the department of medicine, HSR funding from a variety of agencies already exceeds $3 billion and is growing.
In addition, HSR is important not just for improving patient care but for educating future health professionals. Fred Sanfilippo, director of the Emory-Georgia Tech Healthcare Innovation Program (HIP), believes that engaging students is one low-cost way to accelerate HSR at Emory. Working with more than a dozen faculty across the ACTSI, he started a university-wide HSR course last year in the Master of Science in Clinical Research program. This year, HIP expanded its semi-annual HSR seed grant program for faculty to include students, and students often serve as panelists in the HIP's quarterly symposia, the most recent of which focused on HSR in education.
Finally, many believe that the environment at Emory is particularly ripe for accelerating HSR, with so many health disciplines all under one WHSC roof and ample opportunities for incubating interprofessional teams. And there is no mistaking a sense of excitement, energy, and enthusiasm about the possibilities here.
"We have many people here who spend the majority of their time on health services research," says Ted Johnson, chair of family and preventive medicine, head of geriatrics and general internal medicine, and a faculty member in Bowling's course. "Our charge is to coordinate that effort. We have to make sure we are meaningfully recruiting faculty, matching them with mentors, and creating appropriate teams."
Jason Hockenberry, a health policy expert in public health who is also on Bowling's faculty, agrees. "I came here in part because Emory is the predominant academic health system east of Texas and south of North Carolina. Right now, we do inform the national conversation in health services research, but we have an undersized voice for the large and strategic position that we occupy." He is optimistic though: "I see leadership making concerted time to make this a priority, and we have the intellectual horsepower here to contribute in a big way."
Presidential Selection Committee seeks your input
The university's Presidential Selection Committee (PSC) and the search consultant it has engaged are soliciting input to understand the needs and aspirations of faculty, students, staff, alumni, physicians, and other important stakeholders to identify the best presidential candidates and ensure the success of the next president.
Since President Wagner announced his retirement in September 2015, members of Emory's Board of Trustees and others have developed a framework and process for the search for a successor, and the PSC has put that process into action. A vital first step is for PSC members to seek input from the Emory community and stakeholders about what matters most to them regarding the university, so the PSC in turn can represent that to future candidates. This input will also be used to construct a job prospectus or job description for candidates.
To help guide the input, below are questions for consideration. Additional feedback and responses to questions on the presidential selection website, will be used to update the FAQ on the website and will facilitate the work of the PSC.
• What do you see as the major challenges and opportunities facing Emory over the likely tenure of the next president?
• The world of higher education is becoming increasingly competitive. What do you see as Emory's strongest competitive advantage?
• How would you describe Emory's culture today, and how would you like to see it change?
• What do you think needs to be preserved at Emory and why?
• By the end of the next president’s term, what should be different about Emory?
• Do you have any specific advice for the Presidential Selection Committee?
You may respond to the questions above via the presidential selection website. This site also provides an opportunity to ask questions not only about the search, but the process leading up to and during the search. Answers to your questions will be incorporated into the site's FAQ.
You are invited to contact the PSC with your thoughts on the credentials, experience, qualities, and values they should consider for the next president via either the Providing Input feature of the presidential selection website or a direct email. The PSC members will read all of this input directly.
Committee approves assignment of units in hospital expansion
After consideration of input from various teams representing physicians, nurses, direct support care providers, administrators, and patient and family advisers, the final recommendation for assignment of patient care units to specific levels of the Emory University Hospital J-wing was recently made to the EUH Expansion Program Executive Committee, whose members unanimously approved the recommendation as follows:
- Level 9: Bone Marrow Transplant
- Level 8: Hematology & Medical Oncology
- Level 7: Surgical specialties, including Surgical Oncology, Urology, Gynecology, and Gynecologic Oncology
- Level 6: Solid Organ Transplant (kidney, liver, and pancreas)
- Level 5 (South): Critical Care (Existing 5E ICU to be assigned here)
- Level 5 (North): Unspecified growth
· Level 4: Day hospital
- Level 3: Unspecified growth
- Level 2: Food service and retail
- Level 1: Anesthesia pre-op and imaging
Assignment of patient care units to specific levels of the J-wing is a crucial step, not just for the J-wing, but also for re-programming of current EUH facilities and units. "The next phase of programming, planning, and phasing will occupy much of 2016," says Bob Bachman, executive director of expansion for the hospital.
Emory-UGA agree to share core facilities
Research leaders at Emory and the University of Georgia recently agreed to the reciprocal use of core facilities at the two institutions, with cores available to researchers from either institution at the same rates and terms offered to internal faculty users.
The aim of the agreement is to create a greater availability of research support services for faculty at both institutions, minimize duplication of resources, and expand research collaboration opportunities.
At Emory, the agreement includes 14 units in the Emory Integrated Core Facilities. Cores encompass imaging, immunotherapy, genomics, proteomics, flow cytometry, transgenic mouse and animal models, electron microscopy, cancer tissue, biomarkers, and flow cytometry.
At UGA, the agreement includes 16 core facilities encompassing imaging, electron microscopy, bioexpression and fermentation, analytical services, isotopes, pathology, flow cytometry, genomics, x-ray diffraction, nanotechnology, monoclonal antibodies, proteomics and mass spectrometry, quantitative biology, and statistics.
"At Emory, we have been working hard to better organize and consolidate our shared service centers, and this is an excellent time to pursue greater collaboration with our partner institutions in Georgia for the benefit of our faculty and our research mission," says Michael Zwick, WHSC AVP for research and assistant dean of research in the medical school. We hope to expand this kind of facilities collaboration with our other partners." Read more.