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Clinical Trials Offices Changing Academic Health Center Research Infrastructure

Friday, September 18, 2009 General News J E 4
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Strategic Examination and Consolidation of Services Recommended by the AAHC

WASHINGTON, Aug. 27 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Little uniformity exists in the structure or functions of clinical trials offices, and models are needed for the future, according to Clinical Trials Offices: What's New in Research Administration?, a new report from the Association of Academic Health Centers (AAHC). Emerging centralized clinical trial offices (CTOs) are among the newest developments within the research administration infrastructure of academic health centers -- where leaders are focused on optimizing resources and developing strategies to sustain and transform the nation's research enterprise. The report notes that a trend towards consolidation or centralization in the administration of clinical trial functions has been ongoing for several years -- but is far from accomplished.

Report authors, Elaine Rubin, AAHC vice president for policy and program, and Danielle Lazar, AAHC program associate, profiled eight academic health centers, addressing the development, organization, structure, and activities of the clinical trials office (CTO). Operating budgets of profiled CTOs ranged from $400 thousand to over $4 million with compliance responsibilities that ranged from contracting and cost analysis to education and training.

The report not only provides important insights on the strategies and initiatives to create systems for the future but also institutional cultural change and the challenges that academic health center leaders face to ensure the research enterprise evolves to address new scientific developments, translational research, and interdisciplinary, multisite research.

Study findings reveal that many institutions are still stressed and challenged by the lack of a clearly defined organization and governance structure for clinical trials administration. "Academic health center leaders should examine the organization and structure for clinical trials administration within their respective institutions and determine what, if any, changes are needed to consolidate and optimize the research infrastructure," said Dr. Rubin, who also pointed out that important tools, such as the AAHC's Clinical Trials Administration Toolkit, exist to help with this process.

The AAHC is a national non-profit association dedicated to advancing the nation's health and well-being through the vigorous leadership of academic health centers.

SOURCE Association of Academic Health Centers
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