University Of Pittsburgh Schools Of The Health Sciences Open Office To Support Clinical Research
PITTSBURGH, September 19, 2001 — Clinical research has grown dramatically over the past decade as a result of an increase in knowledge, opportunities and funding. The University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences has established a new Office of Clinical Research (OCR) to facilitate the process of clinical research, promote its value and foster communication among those involved in clinical research at the university.
“We have received wide-spread support for this office from program leaders throughout the Schools of the Health Sciences. By providing a broad infrastructure offering support to all clinical researchers, we cannot only more efficiently facilitate existing research and help our researchers, we can be more supportive to young investigators,” said S. Clifford Schold, M.D., assistant vice chancellor for clinical research, Health Sciences, University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Schold, who reports to Ronald B. Herberman, M.D., associate vice chancellor for research, and to Arthur S. Levine, M.D., senior vice chancellor, Health Sciences, and dean of the School of Medicine, will have administrative responsibility for the office.
“The office is being established in response to the rapidly emerging and critical need of the faculty for a robust and sophisticated infrastructure in support of clinical trials,” said Dr. Levine.
The OCR is organized into four operational units giving researchers specialized resources to help with planning and implementing clinical research. These units are:
Clinical Research Support Unit – This unit will guide the investigator and the research team through regulatory requirements, assist in subject identification and recruitment, and provide an independent safety monitoring committee for studies in progress.
Education Unit – This unit will assist with the coordination and development of educational programs in clinical research on the University of Pittsburgh campus, including the master’s program in clinical research through the Clinical Research Training Program, educational programs organized through the Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic (WPIC) and the University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing, and certification programs coordinated through the Research Conduct and Compliance Office (RCCO).
Informational Management Unit – This unit will coordinate information management services for clinical research across the Schools of the Health Sciences by facilitating communication between various database and information technology systems used by the schools. OCR will take on this responsibility in close collaboration with Charles Friedman, Ph.D., associate vice chancellor for biomedical informatics, University of Pittsburgh.
Sponsored Clinical Trials – This unit will establish relationships between the Schools of the Health Sciences and sponsors of clinical trials that include industrial sponsors, governmental sponsors and foundations and promote clinical trials and funding opportunities sponsored by federal agencies. The Sponsored Clinical Trials Unit will work closely with the Pittsburgh Clinical Research Network (PCRN), which primarily focuses on facilitating clinical trials sponsored by industry. Peter Small, executive director of PCRN, and Lisa Cohn, vice president for operations at PCRN, will play important roles in OCR.
“What we are doing with the OCR is providing a service that lets researchers bypass the complexities and nuances of the research process, putting the focus on their research – not the red-tape,” said Laurel Yasko, R.N., B.S.N., C.C.R.C., director of the OCR.