Thanks to a three-year, $4.2 million grant from the National Institutes
of Health (NIH), the School of Medicine has opened Grady Hospitals
first-ever General Clinical Research Center (GCRC).
The renewable grant brings the promise of innovative treatments
for Grady patients, new educational and training opportunities for
Emory and More-house School of Medicine students and staff, and
a large infusion of revenue for Gradys bottom line.
Gradys Unit 8A has been made over for the GCRC, which opened
in April, said Juha Kokko, associate dean for clinical research
and Asa G. Candler Professor of Medicine, who pushed for the Grady
center and organized the NIH application.
The center features six inpatient beds, one outpatient bed and
five infusion bays where patients can receive intravenous medications.
The new grant represents a major source of patient care income for
Grady, as well as an indispensable vehicle for helping to develop
new treatments for disease.
A General Clinical Research Center is a well-defined hospital
area that is completely funded by the NIH, Kokko said. Its
very unusual to find a GCRC in a non-university-owned hospital.
The care of all patients will be completely supported by an outside
payer (the NIH), although in some cases support could come from
a pharmaceutical company or another sponsor of a clinical study
in the GCRC. Thus, the hospitalas well as the patientswill
benefit. In addition, Emory and Morehouse students and residents
will have an unprecedented opportunity to learn from faculty how
to conduct clinical research.
The GCRC will support Emory and Morehouse physician-scientists
in tackling some of the most intractable problems found at Grady
and other large urban hospitals, such as diabetes, high blood pressure,
HIV/AIDS, kidney disease caused by sickle cell anemia and traumatic
From an administrative standpoint, the Grady GCRC will function
as a satellite to a long-established GCRC at Emory Hospital. The
program director of the Grady GCRC will be Lawrence Phillips, professor
of medicine, who worked with Kokko in developing the grant application.
The Grady GCRC is being funded outright by the NIH for three years,
after which it can be renewed in five-year increments, contingent
on the renewal of the parent GCRC grant at Emory.
Phillips emphasized that all research studies at the center must
first be considered and approved by institutional review boards
to assure patient safety and the protection of human subjects. It
is also important, he said, that clinical studies take into account
the concerns of Gradys patient population. To this end, the
grant supports the hiring of a research subject advocate, who will
be an expert in health education and communications, and a patient
care advocate, defined as a clinical nurse specialist who will serve
as a liaison between doctors, research oversight committees, staff
New techniques developed in the center will be applied to the rest
of the hospital. Physicians, residents, medical students and nurses
will rotate through the center, which also will have a permanent
core staff of nine nurses and many participating physicians from
The new center deepens a decades-long partnership between Grady
and the School of Medicine, which furnishes most of the hospitals
medical staff; the remainder are faculty and residents from Morehouse.
Grady is the primary clinical training site for both schools. About
one of every four physicians in Georgia has worked in Grady.
The [GCRC] at Grady is a win-win for everyone involved,
said medical school Dean Thomas Lawley. Patients will benefit,
and the hospitals bottom line will benefit. The GCRC will
have a very important impact on the treatment of patients at Grady,
as well as on the finances of the hospital.