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MultiCare institute on leading edge of research and innovation

Posted on Jun 15, 2012 ( comments)
Paul Amoroso, MD, MPH, is Medical Director of the MultiCare Institute for Research & Innovation.

MultiCare Institute for Research & Innovation Medical Director Paul Amoroso, MD, MPH, was interviewed by University of Washington Tacoma Healthcare Leadership student Melissa Manske, who was one of two students to do fieldwork with the Institute as a senior undergraduate project. This preceptor program is just one example of how the Institute is cultivating strong partnerships with academia and the local community around Tacoma.

What is unique about this institute compared to the others in the Puget Sound area?

The MultiCare Institute for Research & Innovation exists in a not-for-profit community hospital, so we are directly serving our own local patient population living right here in Pierce County and South King County. Having clinical trials available to our patients gives them treatment options that would not otherwise be available. Our research participants reflect the local community, and we look forward to increasing our visibility in the Puget Sound area so that local patients will be aware of the options we provide.

What are some of the major accomplishments and advancements resulting from research at MultiCare?

Our major accomplishments have come through our participation in many clinical trials since 1982. We have offered patients access to new and innovative therapies that otherwise would not have been available. We also have initiated some of our own research trials -- one example is a neurosurgery trial for patients who are having brain tumors surgically removed. We give one dose of an oral investigational medication prior to surgery. The medication causes tumors to fluoresce -- light up -- under UV light. The fluorescence allows the surgeon to see the tumor tissue. Without this assistance, the tumor tissue is very difficult to distinguish from normal brain tissue.

As the Medical Director, where do you see the Institute for Research & Innovation going in the next five years?

With our well-established clinical trials program, the MultiCare Institute for Research & Innovation has significant opportunity to increase its scope and effectiveness. In the next five years, I see substantial increases in the research support infrastructure available to MultiCare investigators and patients. I hope to continue to build our already strong team while increasing financial support obtained through federal grants programs, for example, National Institutes of Health. It takes time to develop a portfolio of federally funded research programs, but we are well on our way toward achieving one. We are also pleased with the wonderful and growing community support we are seeing in the form of donations to support our research. We aim to fulfill the goals of our many generous community philanthropists over the next five years and beyond.

What is the Institute for Research & Innovation focused on this year?

This year, the institute is focusing on the submission of several federal grant applications to support the research ideas of our investigator-clinicians. We have been working hard to enhance our collaborative relationship with University of Washington Tacoma and several other community partners. One exciting new program partners with the UWT Web and Data Science lab and uses our electronic medical records. The initial focus of this collaborative research will be to develop analytical methods to reduce the risk of readmission among our heart failure patients. Eventually, we hope to become a key industry partner for a developing Research Center at the UW Web and Data Science Lab, and will seek to obtain funds through joint programs recently announced between the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation.

What does this institute do for the community, such as patients and providers?

What is nice about having a research institute in the MultiCare Health System is that it inspires innovation at all levels. Dedicated to being a local, community-based facility, MultiCare’s greatest strengths are providing excellent care, cutting-edge science, and providing patients with options for their health needs, all right here in their hometown. Additionally, staff members are attracted to a workplace that has a robust research program. We feel that having research available will bring more talented physicians and other providers who might otherwise go to academia. Participating in medical research keeps our providers engaged at the cutting-edge of medical science.

How do I get involved with research at MultiCare?

Examples of currently enrolling studies that are seeking participants are listed on our website, and are updated frequently. If you have questions, feel free to contact Anne Reedy at 253-403-5272 or Anne.Reedy@multicare.org.You can always ask your provider about research and they can give you direction as well.

Posted in: Research | Tacoma

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Dr. Paul Amoroso
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