By Wendy S. Meyer
In January, the Colorado Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute (CCTSI) launched a new program to provide study coordinator services to help researchers in adult diseases do their work. The Clinical Research Support Team (CReST) is part of the CCTSI and is led by Clinical Research Operations Manager Benjamin Echalier, MS, MBA, CCRP.
"I’m excited to launch this new initiative to provide coordinator-type services like study visits, data collection and management, regulatory support and even budgetary support,” says Echalier. “Our aim is to help investigators stay efficient, on time and on budget. In other words, to help them succeed in their work.”
Tim Lockie, MBA, MS, administrative director at the CCTSI, says over the years he’s seen the need for a pool of experienced research staff who can assist researchers with key tasks that are essential for conduct of human research. “Our goal with CReST is to alleviate the need for PIs or research coordinators to train or manage research staff. Investigators will only pay for the services they need—which in many cases may be one or two key tasks for a matter of months,” says Lockie.
For several months, CReST has been working with Research Project Manager Brooke Valdez and Assistant Professor of Neurology Drew Kern, MD, MS, principal investigator of a clinical research study that may result in new and earlier ways to diagnose Parkinson’s disease and other neurodegenerative diseases.
Valdez says Echalier and his colleague Greg Coe have been supporting study coordination tasks. They do the scheduling with patients; work with staff at the front desk of the CTRC Outpatient Clinic; and help with patient consent and assessments.
“The patients in our study have Parkinson’s and they [Ben and Greg] are doing the consent forms and handling all of that during the visit. They are coordinating to get the nurses there and they are helping to coordinate with our department,” Valdez says.
She says she would absolutely recommend them, “They are really organized and can think on their feet.” She tells a story about two patients: one was running an hour early and one was late. She says Greg just started handling everything that needed to be done before the PI got there. She says by the time the PI rolled into the clinic, everything was running smoothly.
“I would definitely encourage using CReST. I had a great experience and I know Dr. Kern feels the same way,” Valdez says.