by Cindy Abole
South Carolina residents seeking the latest information about research
studies within the state and beyond now have several useful tools to
help them connect and become active participants in science. Their
interest and commitment could lead to the advancement of new health
treatment options and discoveries for patients suffering from disease
and other ailments.
The South Carolina Clinical and Translational Research Institute (SCTR)
Success Center joined a national consortium led by Vanderbilt
University to develop an online registry to match the interests of
participating men and women with research investigators at MUSC. The
Research Match project also connects with other institutions to make
strides in scientific knowledge and therapies related to cancer and
other forms of disease through one central online resource.
early October, SCTR launched the MUSC Hero campaign, which serves as a
local, comprehensive listing of all active Institutional Review Board
(IRB)-based clinical trials activity at MUSC. Research Match provides
the perfect complement as a new Web-based, study-neutral (beyond
clinical trials) recruitment registry that went live in November. The
program connects interested men and women to research activity and
researchers who are involved in recruitment. Since it’s launch, its
estimated that more than 1,000 study volunteers already have registered
in research study activities both nationally and in South Carolina.
“Research Match is a very unique opportunity for the local public to
have access to research studies that are being conducted at MUSC and
around the country,” said Teresa Kelechi, Ph.D., R.N., associate
professor of nursing and institutional research match liaison and
recruitment director. “We’re very excited about the MUSC Heroes
campaign, which is currently in progress and believe Research Match
will complement this initiative by providing the public with even more
research study participation options.”
Because it’s Web-based, volunteers self-register online, 24/7, and
provide specific information all within a secure, convenient system.
Participants are matched using criteria, key identifier information
including age, race, ethnicity, health status and preferred distance to
travel. Starting in late January, investigators and their
research teams will gain access to the Research Match database and
receive information about potential volunteers. At this time, MUSC
Research Match coordinators are focused on study recruitment and
building up the program’s database before researchers get involved.
Once volunteers are “matched” by the system, they may give permission
for researchers to contact them for studies in which they are
interested in participating and to begin the recruitment process.
“Research Match features an ability for study volunteers to upload
information directly into the system at their own convenience and let
the matching system do the rest. The system provides tools that place a
lot of control [ability to acknowledge or reject involvement] in the
study volunteer’s hands. It’s a wonderful opportunity for people to
sign up and get involved,” said Randal Davis, SCTR project director.
For the first year, only National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) Clinical
Translational Research Award (CTSA) network researchers will use this
recruitment tool, although plans call to expand it to other
institutions during the next few years. The program is actively
recruiting men, women and children of all ages to register in this
national online registry. The program is seeking both healthy and
Research Match was developed as a not-for-profit Web site as a product
of the CTSA Consortium and led by Vanderbilt University with funding by
the National Center for Research Resources, a branch of the NIH. SCTR
was established in 2009, along with area academic partners such as the
University of South Carolina, Clemson University and Healthy Sciences
South Carolina, to provide infrastructure support, staff training and
management of clinical and translational research activities within the
Palmetto state. In July, MUSC and SCTR were presented with a five-year,
$60 million award as one of 46 national research network institutions
involved in ongoing biomedical research initiatives across the country.
For information, visit http://www.muschero.com.
New tool kit navigates research enterprise
The South Carolina Clinical (SCTR) & Translational Research
Institute (CTSA) recently added a new online organizational research
tool for scientists and research personnel that’s an easy, reliable
resource as individuals understand research at MUSC.
“The new tool kit is a culmination of more than a year’s worth of work
spent on organizing and providing a practical tool that users can
access,” said Stephen Skelton, SCTR grants navigator. “It’s organized
much like the life cycle of a research study award and the steps
in-between to guide users from finding funding information, grant
proposal submissions to the dissemination of results. It pulls together
both campuswide and federal resources into one place. It’s essentially
a one-stop shop for our users.”
The tool kit was created in collaboration with the Offices of the
Associate Provost for Research and the SCTR Success Center. The Web
page features navigational tabs to help users identify topics and
updated information to assist staff through the research process. Just
recently, the tool kit was beta tested to coordinators, administrators
and staff at all levels of both the university and medical center to
measure for accuracy, functionality and appropriate content.
“This is great for investigators who are new to MUSC research on campus
and don’t yet understand the research process. We’ve provided new links
to guide researchers and customizable effort,” Skelton continued.
“Building this tool kit from the ground up was a positive experience
that so many people really wanted on campus,” said Loretta
Lynch-Reichert, operations manager of research administration, Office
of the Associate Provost for Research. “Our hope is to make it both a
functional and seamless tool for everyone to utilize.”
Department of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery newcomer Michelle
Edwards’ days are busy as a study program coordinator currently
managing five different hearing research studies as part of her
“Like the Success Center, the tool kit has everything one needs to
manage research activities,” said Edwards. “It's a convenience that's
been helpful to me in managing multiple studies.”
Visit firstname.lastname@example.org or call 792-8300.
Friday, Dec. 11, 2009