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Warren Grant Magnuson Clinical Center (CC)

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

Clinical Center Communications
Colleen Henrichsen

NIH Clinical Center Expands Clinical Research Training Programs through Long-distance Learning

The NIH Clinical Center has extended its clinical research training programs to reach more than 1,000 physicians and other health professionals this year, in locations as far away as Peru and Puerto Rico.

“Proper training of clinical researchers is critical to advancing medical science,” said Dr. John I. Gallin, director of the NIH Clinical Center. “In the past, researchers have relied on mentors to teach them how to conduct clinical trials. We have established a formalized training program to fill this critical gap and we’re extending it world wide.” Improving clinical research training is a major initiative of the NIH roadmap, introduced by NIH Director Dr. Elias Zerhouni last month.

This year 1,426 students are enrolled in three core courses, “Introduction to the Principles and Practice of Clinical Research,” “Principles of Clinical Pharmacology,” and “Ethical and Regulatory Aspects of Clinical Research.” They are available not only to NIH researchers, but are transmitted by satellite or web videocast to remote locations.

Established in 1995 at the NIH Clinical Center, the “Introduction to the Principles and Practice of Clinical Research” course is a study curriculum on how to effectively conduct clinical research and design a successful clinical trial. The current session is transmitted to nine off-site centers worldwide and has 653 registrants, more than half of them (360) are off site. Since the course was established in 1995 with 25 students, it has trained more than 3,000 health professionals, nearly 1,000 of them in off-site locations.

The program has also expanded its diversity outreach. This year the course includes 69 registrants at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, 11 students at Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, and 60 students at the University of Puerto Rico in San Juan.

Other locations participating this year are the Children’s National Medical Center, George Washington University Medical Center and Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington, DC, the State University of New York in Syracuse, the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, and the U. S. Naval Medical Research Center Detachment in Lima, Peru. The current session began Oct. 20, 2003 and will run through Feb. 24, 2004.

“Clinical research training programs improve the skills of all clinical research teams and bring more patients into clinical trials,” said Gallin.

“Principles of Clinical Pharmacology,” offers training in the scientific basis of clinical pharmacology. Established in 1998 and led by Dr. Arthur Atkinson, the course is designed to meet the needs of researchers who have an interest in the clinical pharmacologic aspects of contemporary drug development and use. This year the program has 273 registrants (66 in remote locations). To date, it has enrolled 1,574 students, 202 have taken the training at off-site locations.

“Ethical and Regulatory Aspects of Clinical Research,” is led by Drs. Ezekiel Emanuel and Christine Grady, of the Clinical Center Department of Bioethics. This seven-week course is currently in its sixth year and has 535 students registered this fall. Small groups of registrants are participating by internet. Additionally, a small number of fellows at the Western IRB in Olympia, Washington are attending the course by satellite and internet. A textbook, “Ethical and Regulatory Aspects of Clinical Research: Readings and Commentary,” has been published for the course by Johns Hopkins University Press.

Complementing these programs are two formal Clinical Center partnerships, one with Duke University and the other with the University of Pittsburgh, which lead to master’s degrees in clinical research.

Additional information on these courses can be obtained from the Clinical Center Office of Clinical Research Training and Medical Education (Director, Frederick P. Ognibene, M.D. and Deputy Director, DeNedra McPherson) at 301-496-9425.

The Warren Grant Magnuson Clinical Center is a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The Clinical Center is the clinical research hospital for NIH. Through clinical research, physicians and scientists translate laboratory discoveries into better treatments, therapies and interventions to improve the nation's health.

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