How a Network Came Together to Manage a Large Research Program During the Pandemic

Tamara Friedman*, Elli G. Paleoudis, Avery Freed, Susan Adler, Cheryl Fittizzi and Ihor Sawczuk

How a Network Came Together to Manage a Large Research Program During the Pandemic. Hackensack Meridian Health, a large New Jersey network comprised of 17 hospitals, a medical school, and 200 ambulatory care centers, executes a large research program with approximately 1000 active human subjects studies.

With the arrival of the coronavirus disease-2019 pandemic, the Office of Research Administration was confronted with a series of challenges. These included minimizing face-to-face contact among research participants and staff, allocating limited resources to handle the influx of COVID-19 related proposals, providing human subjects.

The Office of Research Administration supports all clinical and basic research across HMH and within the last year oversaw approximately 900-1000 active human subjects research protocols, including sponsored and investigator initiated studies.  At this time, there have been thousands of COVID-related hospitalizations in the state and over 12,000 COVID-related deaths. Another immediate challenge that presented itself was related to the sudden involvement in research of certain physicians who had never engaged in research before.

This experience has demonstrated the importance of maintaining a centralized research administration. Having one unified group of people making key decisions regarding the research program and conveying them to the research community allowed for the research to progress successfully in the face of COVID-19.

Other factors that were important to the research program management included our efforts to coordinate groups within the research administration effectively, not work in silos, and to share information regularly throughout the network.  The ORA and network researchers came together and were overall successful in their efforts.

Clin Trial Pract Open J. 2020; 3(1): 20-22. doi: 10.17140/CTPOJ-3-114