Peninsula Regional Medical Center (PRMC) in Salisbury, Md., is the latest health system to join the Johns Hopkins Clinical Research Network (JHCRN). Developed by the Johns Hopkins Institute for Clinical and Translational Research (ICTR), JHCRN is designed to establish a network of academic and community-based clinical researchers who provide new opportunities for research collaborations and accelerate the transfer of new diagnostic, treatment and disease-prevention advances from the research arena to patient care.
The JHCRN was established by Johns Hopkins Medicine (JHM) in early 2009 and includes Anne Arundel Medical Center, Greater Baltimore Medical Center and Inova Health System, plus the medical centers that comprise Johns Hopkins Medicine. JHCRN creates a bridge for research between Hopkins and community-based medical centers by linking physician-scientists and staff from the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions with community-based medical centers in the region, and makes clinical trials available to patients who may not ordinarily have access to them.
"The JHCRN is a unique research resource that increases patients' access to innovative therapies and outcomes research in their own local communities while empowering physicians to develop and conduct a broad array of research projects most relevant to their respective communities," says Charles M. Balch, M.D., JHCRN director and a professor of surgery and oncology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
"It's an honor for Peninsula Regional Medical Center to join with Johns Hopkins and the elite Hopkins Research Network, both of which are respected and admired nationally for providing exceptional health care and research opportunities," says Peggy Naleppa, M.B.A., Ph.D., president/CEO of Peninsula Regional Medical Center. "Through this network affiliation, the vision we collectively embrace for community collaboration around chronic diseases - diabetes, cardiac and respiratory conditions and cancer - will advance our ability here on the Delmarva Peninsula to better meet our mission of improving the health of the communities we serve."
The JHCRN directly addresses the many complexities of conducting multisite and multi-institutional trials by providing investigators with a larger patient pool and a seamless platform that uses common research protocols. The goal of the network is to speed the approval of new trials while ensuring careful oversight of patient safety. Rapid start-up and timely completion of research studies, aided by more local access to clinical trials, will more quickly make promising therapies available for patient use.
PRMC anticipates that its affiliation with the JHCRN will serve as a catalyst to attract physicians to the Delmarva Peninsula in select specialties where shortages currently exist, adds Naleppa. "The pool of new medical school graduates any hospital can draw from is very limited to begin with," she says. "The nation's best new physicians are looking to join those hospitals that afford them the best opportunity to not only advance their skills but also contribute through cutting-edge research. Being a part of the elite Hopkins Research Network provides that to us and to them." PRMC also anticipates, in the future, the creation of a Peninsula Regional Medical Center Research Institute, according to Naleppa.
JHCRN deputy director Adrian Dobs, M.D., vice chair of the Department of Medicine at Johns Hopkins, notes that "we are delighted that Peninsula Regional Medical Center has joined us in this important initiative to combine our research strengths for the improvement of health of the citizens in our region."
Initially, JHCRN focused on expanding cancer-related clinical trials (including medical, surgical and radiation therapy aspects of cancer treatment). It soon expanded to the development of diabetes and surgical studies. Future collaborations will include a wide range of research areas, including pediatrics; intensive care; cardiovascular, neuropsychiatric, brain and spine diseases; and radiology and nuclear medicine studies.
The JHCRN is a program of the Johns Hopkins Institute for Clinical and Translational Research (ICTR), itself part of a national consortium aimed at transforming how clinical and translational research is conducted at academic health centers around the country.
"This level of collaboration between an academic medical center and community-based research institutions is unprecedented in the region and is bringing a wide array of benefits to both patients and investigators," says Daniel E. Ford, M.D., M.P.H., vice dean for clinical investigation for Johns Hopkins Medicine and ICTR director.
The JHCRN is developing new and improved tools for analyzing research data and managing clinical trials, supporting outreach to underserved populations, working with local community and advocacy organizations and health care providers, and forging new collaborations with private and public health care organizations. Network researchers from participating hospitals use a centralized data system to coordinate information from diverse information technology and electronic medical record sources. Clinical research methodologies, data management, research reporting documentation, patient consent forms, and quality and safety control criteria are standardized for each protocol. "With this uniformity, network hospitals can better develop and coordinate their own clinical research activities or joint clinical trials with other JHCRN institutions," Ford notes.
For more information about the Johns Hopkins Clinical Research Network, visit http://ictr.johnshopkins.edu/JHCRN.
Johns Hopkins Medicine
Headquartered in Baltimore, M., Johns Hopkins Medicine is a nearly $6 billion integrated global health enterprise and one of the leading health systems in the United States. The mission of Johns Hopkins Medicine is to improve the health of the community and the world by setting the standard of excellence in medical education, research and clinical care. Diverse and inclusive, Johns Hopkins Medicine educates medical students, scientists, health care professionals and the public; conducts biomedical research; and provides patient-centered medicine to prevent, diagnose and treat human illness. With more than 3,500 active research protocols, Johns Hopkins scientists receive more federal research support annually ($610 million in 2010) than counterparts in other U.S. medical schools. Its more than 30,000 employees make Johns Hopkins Medicine among Maryland's largest private employers and the largest in Baltimore City. The total FY 2010 economic impact of all the Johns Hopkins institutions in Maryland alone is an estimated $10 billion. Johns Hopkins International brings world-class health care to more than 25 strategic projects in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America. Johns Hopkins Medicine operates six hospitals, four suburban health care and surgery centers, and 30 primary and specialty health care sites that handle more than 600,000 annual patient visits. It employs more than 2,800 physicians and has about 1.9 million outpatient visits annually.
Peninsula Regional Medical Center
Peninsula Regional Medical Center (PRMC) in Salisbury, Md., offers the widest array of specialty and subspecialty services on the Delmarva Peninsula. At over 360 acute care beds, 30 transitional care beds and 28 newborn beds, PRMC is the region's largest, most advanced tertiary care facility and has been meeting the health care needs of Delmarva Peninsula residents since 1897. Its 3,300 physicians, staff and volunteers provide safe, compassionate and affordable care designed to exceed the expectations of the nearly 500,000 patients who rely on the Medical Center team each year for inpatient, outpatient, diagnostic, subacute and emergency/trauma services. It is the region's oldest health care institution with the most experienced team of health care professionals. Peninsula Regional is the sixth largest medical center in the state of Maryland by bed count, offering a full range of services, including neurosurgery, cardiothoracic surgery, joint replacement, emergency/trauma care and comprehensive cancer care, that rival those offered in much larger metropolitan areas. PRMC has received over 100 national awards, certifications and recognitions over the past five years for the safety and care it provides patients and the outcomes they experience. Included are the 2009, 2010 & 2011 Distinguished Hospital Awards for Clinical Excellence by HealthGrades Inc., placing the Medical Center among the top 5 percent of American hospitals for clinical quality performance.
The Johns Hopkins Institute for Clinical and Translational Research
The Johns Hopkins Institute for Clinical and Translational Research (ICTR) was established in 2007 with a $100 million Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) grant from the National Institutes of Health. It is now one of 55 CTSA institutes dedicated to reducing the time it takes for laboratory discoveries to become treatments for patients and engaging communities in clinical research efforts. It also is fulfilling the critical need to train a new generation of clinical researchers. Last year, the Hopkins ICTR programs assisted more than 1,300 Johns Hopkins faculty and staff - representing over 70 different departments throughout the schools of Medicine, Public Health, Nursing and Engineering - with their clinical and translational research projects.