The Western Michigan University (WMU) Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine has formed the Center for Clinical Research.
The Center brings together the leadership, expertise, resources and staff from the medical school, Borgess Research Institute and Bronson Research Services into a new collaboration at the medical school. It is designed to strengthen the support for clinical research conducted at Borgess and Bronson and offer new research opportunities for medical school faculty, residents and students.
Amy Shipley, Ph.D., chief research officer at the Borgess Research Institute, will serve as the medical school’s assistant dean for research compliance. Thomas Blok, M.D., director of research services at Bronson, will serve as the medical school’s assistant dean for clinical research. Both provide leadership for the Center.
“Bringing together these two leaders with experience in all aspects of clinical research creates a synergy that builds on the longstanding research and innovation at both hospitals,” said medical school Dean Hal B. Jenson, M.D. “Both have well-established clinical research relationships with sponsors across multiple therapeutic areas and support a large number of active clinical trials overseen by experienced investigators throughout Kalamazoo.”
Research is a key component of the medical school’s development and planning for accreditation including clinical, laboratory, community and educational research. Through the Center for Clinical Research, Borgess and Bronson are making an important and significant contribution to the medical school’s research strategy.
The Center will provide comprehensive services for investigators including proposal development, sponsored programs administration, and a human research protection program. Review and study oversight services will include protocol management by experienced clinical research coordinators, regulatory document preparation and submission, assistance with institutional review board (IRB) requirements, budget development and negotiations, grants and contracts expense accounting, subject recruitment and enrollment, as well as training and education for staff. It is expected that the new collaboration will facilitate streamlined operations, eliminate service duplications, and bolster research compliance oversight.
Following development a human research protection program and transition to a single IRB over the next six to nine months, the Center will seek accreditation from the Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Programs (AAHRPP), which has become the standard for sponsors, organizations and investigators participating in clinical research.
The medical school is renovating the fourth and fifth floors of its facility on the W.E. Upjohn M.D. Campus in downtown Kalamazoo to house the new Center as well as biomedical science research laboratories. The Center faculty and staff are expected to move into the new offices on the medical school campus by the end of the year.
“The new Center, with its combined number of trials, puts researchers in a stronger position to pursue grant opportunities,” said J. Patrick Dyson, executive vice president at Borgess Health. “Major funders, including the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), place a high premium on interdisciplinary research and the new Center meets the definition of interdisciplinary. The Borgess Research Institute and Bronson Research Services both have a diverse portfolio of programs and services, which are expected to grow at this new Center. These include clinical trials in the areas of drugs, device, cardiology, vascular, and other diseases.”
The Center will support current and future clinical research at Borgess and Bronson sites as well as at the medical school clinics on Oakland Drive. For patients currently enrolled in clinical trials through Borgess or Bronson, they will continue to be seen and followed at their current clinical sites.
“It is our hope that through the new Center for Clinical Research, we will have an increased number of clinical trials available to our community,” said Cheryl Knapp, vice president and chief quality officer for the Bronson Healthcare Group. “While this joint entity creates an even better support system for medical school faculty, residents, students, community clinicians and other research participants, we look forward to providing enhanced care to the community.”