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Key Accomplishments

Over the past few years, a major internal initiative focused on optimizing operational and financial performance through operations redesign, cost control, resource allocation and improved revenue cycle. The result of this comprehensive endeavor has been a 78 percent increase in overall research revenue to Atlantic Health System over a two-year period. Turnaround time for contracts and IRB submissions, which are done in a parallel process, is approximately 45 days.

A major focus on regulatory compliance resulted in the development and implementation of 50 NIH policies, a major initiative to streamline research billing and the development of over 50 operational standard operating procedures to ensure good clinical practice status.

The Research Advisory Steering Committee was formed to address strategic issues including:

  • Operations/revenue
  • Patient and trial recruitment
  • Resource allocation and prioritization
  • External collaborations and partnerships
  • Coordination of philanthropic efforts
  • Enhanced marketing and visibility

Federal Grant Funding
Over the past year, the Department of Research Administration allocated resources and defined procedures to facilitate the process of federal grant application and pre-award and post-award management.

In the past six months, two NIH R01 Grants were awarded to Atlantic Health System:

Funding Agency:
National Institutes of Neurological Disease and Stroke
“The Role of ECE-2 in Regulating A-beta Levels in Alzheimer’s Disease”
Principal Investigator: Dr. Elizabeth Eckman
Amount of Award: $1.6M
Partner Institutions: Mayo Clinic and Rutgers University

Funding Agency:
National Institutes of Aging
“The Neurogenic Potential of Cholinergic Activation in
Alzheimer’s Disease”
Principal Investigator: Dr. Elizabeth Eckman
Amount of Award: $1.8M

Research Collaborations
Continued growth has occurred in the number of research collaborations with major universities and research institutions. Recent collaborations have included:

Growth in research collaborations with industry partners is manifested by the development of 13 master clinical trial agreements, which are in place to increase efficiency in study startup, streamline processes and leverage research human resources.

Research Day
Each year for the past 15 years, Atlantic Health System Research Day has highlighted the abundance of compelling studies conducted at our hospitals. Research is central to the mission of Atlantic Health System and represents a significant effort of the faculty, residents and staff. Research Day is designed to illuminate our research efforts to foster scientific creativity and exploration. Atlantic Health System researchers share the highlights and findings of their work and studies at the annual event.

Biostatistical Education and Training
Ongoing lectures, journal clubs and training sessions on statistics and methodology are provided in our Biostatistics Department. These presentations are given to residents, attendings, nurses and pharmacists who are interested in conducting research.

Topics include:

  • Research design
  • Hypothesis testing
  • Choosing appropriate statistical methods
  • Choosing appropriate diagnostic test evaluation tools (e.g., sensitivity, specificity)
  • Data entry and set-up for analysis
  • Performing simple statistical analysis using Excel, SPSS, Minitab or other statistical software

Summer Student Intern Program
This program is aimed at providing college students who are planning to pursue a career in the medical or scientific field with an opportunity to learn about all aspects of clinical research. The students are exposed to operational research activities, such as Investigational Review Board (IRB), and assigned to work with an Atlantic Health System principal investigator to assist with research-related projects. At the end of the internship, students are asked to present the results of their work. In 2011, six students participated in the program.

Department of Research Administration
The goal of the Department of Research Administration is to support and strengthen clinical research throughout Atlantic Health System. The Department provides a sound business structure for the conduct of research, while taking a customer service approach in serving the research community.

Services provided include:

  • Biostatistical Support: plays a crucial role in the research process, from design of the research plan through analysis and publication of study results. Efficient and knowledgeable biostatistics support is crucial to the proper design and interpretation of research in the biomedical sciences. Biostatistical support is provided for more than 225 research projects annually including investigator-initiated
    projects and grant proposals.
  • Investigational Drug Service: provides services to all Atlantic Health System investigators who conduct pharmaceutical industry and government research trials, ensuring the safe administration and handling of experimental agents.
  • Institutional Review Board (IRB): oversees human subject protection in accordance with all government regulations. The IRB process is initiated in parallel with contract review, to decrease overall turnaround time and facilitate study startup. In 2009 a Research Portal was developed and implemented, enabling researchers to submit materials electronically. This process trims days from the turnaround time and replaces paper files. Review and approval of a new study requiring full board review is typically granted within 45 days.
  • Grants and Contracts: provides comprehensive contract negotiation, along with pre-award and post-award management of all industry, government and private research grants and contracts. This office oversees sponsored program applications and assists researchers in all aspects of the award process.

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