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Clinical Research Center moves to new Round Wing location

Dec. 6, 2018, 10:10 AM

The new Clinical Research Center is located on the ground floor of Medical Center North’s Round Wing. (photo by Steve Green)

by Wayne Wood

The new Round Wing location of Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s Elliot V. Newman Clinical Research Center (CRC) opened Dec. 4 with a ribbon-cutting and reception.

Jeff Balser, MD, PhD, President and CEO of Vanderbilt University Medical Center and Dean of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, called the opening “a special event in the life of Vanderbilt University Medical Center.”

Balser told the gathered crowd some of the history of the CRC at Vanderbilt.

“Vanderbilt had one of the first federally funded Clinical Research Centers in the country,” he said. “It opened in 1961, and it soon expanded to 21 beds with funding from the U.S. Public Health Service obtained by the center’s founder and first director, Dr. Elliot V. Newman, the distinguished Vanderbilt cardiologist and physician scientist.”

Balser noted that the changes in the new CRC, which is moving from space on the third floor of Medical Center North, allow it to keep up with changing trends in clinical research.

“This new location, here on the ground floor of the Round Wing, facing our hospital and The Vanderbilt Clinic, keeps the CRC proximate to both inpatient and outpatient patient care facilities — the latter being ever more important to the conduct of clinical trials,” he said.

Gordon Bernard, MD, director of the Vanderbilt Institute for Clinical and Translational Research and Executive Vice President for Research at VUMC, said he is excited about the new center.

Gordon Bernard, MD, left, talks with David Robertson, MD, at Tuesday’s ribbon-cutting reception. (photo by Steve Green)

“The CRC program has a rich history, and this brand new, state-of-the-art facility is a testament to the quality and impact the program has had over those years as well as to the significant investment being made in the future of the program,” he said. “The success and stature of our CRC is not just bricks and mortar, it is the cutting edge research accomplished with the expert assistance of nursing director Lana Howard, RN, and her staff that round out the outstanding national stature that the CRC enjoys.”

Kevin Niswender, MD, PhD, who became director of the CRC last year, noted that the new space will allow a continuation of the groundbreaking work the CRC began under his predecessors, including Newman and David Robertson, MD, professor of Medicine, emeritus, who directed the CRC from 1989 to 2017.

“Our CRC, built on the shoulders of giants in clinical research, has been the engine for both translational discovery and for training world class investigators at Vanderbilt for many years,” Niswender said. “It is a true privilege for me to work with outstanding CRC leadership and staff at a time when we are moving to such wonderful new space.”

Robertson, who attended the opening of the new center, emphasized the role it will have on the quality of the research.

“This will allow us to keep all our best people, continuing with the work we have been doing, and with the new work that will come in the future,” he said.

The architectural details and design of the new CRC are based on the unique needs of clinical researchers.

“The new CRC consists of six inpatient beds and six outpatient exam rooms with full support services,” said Don Blair, VUMC’s long-term architect and a partner at the firm Blair + Mui Dowd. “The original CRC was designed for clinical research on inpatients, but now more than half of its patients are outpatients,” Blair said. “This is better space for the way clinical research is done today.”

The new facility has more than 13,000 square feet and contains a communicable disease response unit, which can be separated from the remainder of the unit if need be. Design work on the new unit began in 2016, and construction began in 2017.

“The new location provides an easily identifiable entrance for this longstanding and extremely successful program. Furthermore, it showcases the importance of the CRC and the contribution it continues to make to the clinical research community,” said Bobby Otten, senior director of Space and Facilities Planning.

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