Nate Herr (PL2) on Getting an R01 Study Launched

Posted on behalf of Nate Herr (PL2)

After the safari, I returned to my routine of rounding in the PICU and stabilization room 2-days a week.  The remaining days of the week were dedicated to the various and many research study tasks surrounding getting a new R01 study launched.  This study will follow a spectrum of children admitted with severe malaria-- taking detail to discover more about the causes and outcomes of the different types; Coma, Seizures, Anemia, Acidosis, and Prostration.

Chandy John, Director of the Division of Global Pediatrics at UMN, had arrived in Uganda while I was out on safari.  In the next 3 weeks that he was here he facilitated meeting after meeting on his multiple clinical studies here-- including the NDI study I've been working on and described briefly above.

To answer a question, you need data.  And to get data you need forms.  The forms for our study collect somewhere around 7,000 variables per patient.  With our goal to take in all comers with severe malaria, we are expecting a lot of variables and a short and fast enrollment period-- both of which called for efficiency in the data collection and verification process.

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Karen Hamre, MPH, a PhD candidate at the UMN and current Fogarty Fellow, arrived 2 weeks ago and brought her skilled eye for detail and perspective of data analysis to the group.  It took almost a weeks worth of revisions and multiple rounds of feedback from everyone.  We spoke with everyone from the bedside nurses to the principle investigators to create a set of forms that we believe will efficiently and accurately collect the information we'll need. While it brought on headaches, it was great to have the many perspectives involved early on before the actual roll our of the study.

At the end of Chandy's time here, we weren't yet ready to enroll any patients, but we had made much progress in ensuring that the process would be smoother when it happens.  That last weekend he was here, the Global Health Uganda staff from across the country met for their annual retreat, and ventured out to an island in Lake Victoria.

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For most it was their first time at the island, and for many it was their first time on a boat.  With the entire GHU staff at the island you soon saw how they were a big family, enjoying the company and friendships build over time as the NGO approaches 15 years.  It's been a great privilege to work with them as it's apparent to all that they strive for excellence in whatever their task or role.

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The retreat did it's job in bringing rest and relaxation, something we needed with the multiple studies set to launch this spring.