We’re #1! MatchMaestro Trophy Awarded to UR-CTSI

In early February 2012, a large trophy arrived at the CTSI Directors’ Office, proclaiming us the inaugural winners of the MatchMaestro Trophy (see photo). The UR-CTSI was identified as the institution that enrolled the most research volunteers in studies from September 15, 2011 to December 31, 2011 through the use of ResearchMatch as a recruitment tool. On that basis, UR-CTSI was named the reigning MatchMaestro for the National CTSA Consortium. Nancy Needler, Research Subject Advocate in the UR-CTSI Office of Regulatory Support who has coordinated our ResearchMatch efforts, explained: “The Rochester CTSA Program won the award for this initial period of competition by enrolling 162 volunteers into studies, surpassing all the other 59 CTSA Programs, many which have larger numbers of research studies. The trophy is engraved with the UR-CTSI’s name and will stay with us for the first quarter of 2012, when that quarter’s results will be tallied and the next quarter’s MatchMaestro will be identified. We hope to keep the trophy by winning again and again.”

ResearchMatch is a free, nationwide, web-based matching tool which is not-for-profit. It is administered by Vanderbilt University with the support of funds from the National Institutes of Health. As an electronic volunteer recruitment registry, ResearchMatch allows people from anywhere in the U.S. to self-register and express an interest in being considered for participation in research studies. Researchers register their IRB-approved studies and can search for volunteers based on criteria important for their study. The database provides information about those volunteers to researchers who are looking for people to participate in their studies, while protecting the privacy of volunteers. ResearchMatch then “matches” the volunteer to a study’s inclusion/exclusion criteria and provides an e-mail link so that the investigator can send an IRB-approved recruitment message to potential volunteers, securely. The volunteer can then choose to be contacted by the investigator, triggering ResearchMatch to provide the investigator with the volunteer’s authorized contact information. All operations of ResearchMatch are IRB-approved.

The UR-CTSI ResearchMatch Program, led by Nancy Needler and the UR-CTSI’s Office of Regulatory Support, has been one of the most active since the tool’s inception in 2010, both in signing up volunteers to be in the ResearchMatch database as well as contacting potential research subjects. Through UR-CTSI staff efforts, there are 692 ResearchMatch volunteers residing within 50 miles of UR. Through use of RM, 8,888 national matches between UR research opportunities and potential volunteers have yielded 2,066 agreements to be contacted for a specific study. The UR-CTSI has 40 investigators with active profiles in the RM system and, as of January 2012, we have 11 studies actively recruiting volunteers.

Two investigators actively using ResearchMatch were contacted to describe their experiences. Ann Dozier, RN, PhD, Associate Professor of Public Health Sciences has used ResearchMatch to recruit over 50 patients in a national survey about the experience of being a research participant. Subjects were initially recruited by mail and face-to-face contact, with disappointing results. “We used ResearchMatch to supplement these other efforts. Once approved by the IRB and processed through ResearchMatch over a 2-3 week period, we recruited more interested and eligible individuals than we had done through all of our prior efforts, doubling our total enrollment.” James Dolan, MD, Associate Professor in Public Health Sciences is developing an internet-based clinical decision support tool to help people make decisions about primary prevention of cardiovascular disease. The MatchMaestro was awarded to UR heavily based on the enrollment of Dr. Dolan’s matched research volunteers. “We have been using ResearchMatch to recruit volunteers to help us develop the internet interface we will use for the final product.” Over 570 subjects have been enrolled!
Please come into the UR-CTSI Directors’ Suite to view the trophy. We expect to keep it there for quite a while. The trophy for our recruitment team’s national leadership in recruitment added some levity to our mid-winter labor, but also validated our enthusiasm for helping our investigators perform research studies better, larger, and faster with the ResearchMatch tool. That’s something to really be proud about.
Congratulations again to Nancy Needler, Lauren Farberman, Eric Rubinstein, and the Office of Regulatory Support, as well as the individual investigators who use ResearchMatch.

Meliora,

T.A. Pearson, MD, MPH, PhD

The Rochester Genome

In February 2012, we celebrate the unveiling of a 7½ foot by 44 foot mural, entitled: “The Rochester Genome” in the entrance of the Saunders Research Building. This artwork by Mark Chen is made possible by a generous and thoughtful gift from Dr. David Guzick (the Dean of the School of Medicine and Dentistry during the planning and early phases of the construction of the Saunders Research Building) and his wife, Dr. Donna Giles. This CTSI story recounts the conceptualization and development of the Rochester Genome Project, and its illustration of Rochester’s philosophical approach to science and medicine, the Biopsychosocial Model.

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The story begins with the initial funding of the Rochester Clinical and Translational Science Award Program in 2006 and the initiation of planning for a new Clinical and Translational Science Building in 2007. Competitive architectural proposals were solicited from architects nationwide, and after considerable discussions Francis Cauffman Architects was selected. However, an aspect of one of the competing proposals caught David Guzick’s eye. This was a lighted art wall placed just inside the main entrance. Placed on the facade of the second floor, it could be visualized from Crittenden Boulevard through the glass walls of the entrance. The original idea consisted of horizontal lighted bars which were reminiscent of the multicolored bands from an assay used to identify genome variations, the gene array. . Each color bar would be back-lit to provide the backdrop for the artwork and visualization of the array even during evening hours. David then asked Francis Cauffman if we could go back to Mark Chen and borrow that part of his proposal for integration into the project. Francis Caufmann agreed and we approached Mark Chen for his involvement in this artwork.

Mark Chen is a tremendously talented and creative designer; a tireless fountain of ideas. For example, innumerable renderings of the gene array were provided before the current design was selected. David and Donna were enthusiastic about this and proposed that this be their gift to the new Clinical and Translational Science Building.

Many ideas dealt with images behind the gene array. The Biopsychosocial (BPS) Model served as the guide, depicting the hierarchy of systems from cells to organs to persons to community. The BPS Model, developed by Dr. George Engel, U of R Professor of Psychiatry, has been the blueprint for educational and research programs at the University of Rochester since the 1970s. The fundamental belief is that a patient’s clinical problem cannot be truly understood and addressed without understanding of and attention to all levels of the hierarchy affecting him/her. This serves clinical and translational science very well. Engel warned against reliance solely on molecular biology to explain all: “…. The reductionism of the biomedical model is largely responsible for the physician’s preoccupation with the body and disease and corresponding neglect of the patient as a person.” (G. Engel, J Med Philos 6: 101, 1981). A white blood cell, an MRI cross-section of the brain, and a cluster of faces forming a face were then chosen to illustrate the cell to organ to community hierarchies.

Finally, an idea was proposed that the community of faces include faces recognizable to the Rochester community. A collage of photographs from the Medical Center archives were selected to depict health care at the Medical Center over its many years of operation. These then merge into photographs of current activities in the current CTSI, University leadership, and colleagues from the School of Medicine and Dentistry and of Nursing. The artist selected these from current public relations archives to finalize the mosaic of images.

The work has been entitled: “The Rochester Genome,” as it depicts what has served as our “genetic code” for science and medicine at the University of Rochester: the dedication to basic science, the focus on the patient and the commitment to the community, by diverse teams of physicians, nurses, and scientists. We hope this art wall, like any piece of art, has different messages for each viewer. Nonetheless, everyone entering the Saunders Research Building hopefully will feel that they have entered a place dedicated to science and learning.

We are grateful to David Guzick and Donna Giles for their donation that made the Rochester Genome a reality, to the artist, Mark Chen, for his energy and flexibility in the creative process, and those who assisted in collection and critiques of materials for the project.

Meliora,

T.A. Pearson, MD, MPH, PhD