MCHRI expands dedicated clinical research coordination support to investigators

MCHRI expands its Clinical Research Coordination Support services to assist divisions with hiring and onboarding division-dedicated clinical research coordinators who will assist investigators in the design, start-up, and execution of clinical research studies. (Photo credit: Pixabay)

August 4, 2020

By Roxanna Van Norman

Allie DaCar joined the Stanford Maternal and Child Health Research Institute (MCHRI) one year ago as the first full-time clinical research coordinator (CRC) dedicated to the Division of Critical Care in the Department of Pediatrics.

“It’s a tough field to do research in because decisions for patients in critical condition need to be made extremely fast, so interventional research on this population is difficult,” says DaCar. She is one of the several clinical research coordinators brought onboard through MCHRI who is fully dedicated to a division – in her case, the Division of Critical Care in the Department of Pediatrics – within the Stanford School of Medicine.

DaCar is part of the MCHRI Clinical Research Core, a team of clinical research coordinators who have experience in maternal and pediatric-focused research, including expertise in Institutional Review Board (IRB) procedures, study start-up and design, enrollment of eligible patients, and coordination of study visits to help investigators and research teams with research studies. To date, MCHRI has hired four division-dedicated clinical research coordinators.

Navigating the research environment between Stanford Children’s Health (SCH) and Stanford School of Medicine (SoM) can be challenging and resource intensive for investigators and study teams. The MCHRI Clinical Research Core provides investigators with reliable and trained research staff to assist in the start-up, implementation, and close-out of clinical studies, while alleviating administrative burden associated with training and managing research staff.

“The MCHRI [clinical research staff] are experts in talent searches for CRCs. For this reason, it was a boon to have them provide our division with support for hiring,” says Sohail Husain, MD, who is serving as Professor and Chief for the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition. Other services through the MCHRI Clinical Research Core include budget consultation, consent form preparation, data collection/reporting, patient visits/screening, and specimen handling and shipping, just to name a few.

The MCHRI Clinical Research Core is available to all Stanford faculty, clinician educators, and trainees participating in clinical and translational research related to maternal and child health. MCHRI clinical research coordinators can be hired by the hour, or on a part- or full-time basis to support investigators and/or divisions for all stages of a study.

Supporting researchers in the pursuit of new clinical discoveries to improve children’s health is very important to me 

“Supporting researchers in the pursuit of new clinical discoveries to improve children’s health is very important to me,” says Elvi Sanjines who joined MCHRI in 2019 as the Clinical Research Coordinator Associate dedicated to the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition in the Department of Pediatrics. Sanjines coordinates and manages all aspects of clinical research trials conducted by the Division, and helps investigators with IRB submissions, regulatory compliance, and data management. 

Managed by Clinical Research Manager May Zepeda, CCRP, the MCHRI Clinical Research Core expanded its service model to support divisions within the Department of Pediatrics (including other departments that have a pediatric division) with recruiting, hiring and onboarding of clinical research coordinators who are 100 percent dedicated to the division. Other divisions include the Division of Pediatric Medical Genetics in the Department of Pediatrics and Division of Pediatric Head and Neck Surgery in the Department of Otolaryngology. 

“MCHRI assists with onboarding, training, and embracing this person [hired for the division] just as we do when we hire our own research coordinators,” says Zepeda. “The division-dedicated clinical research coordinators join our team meetings, job aides, lean huddles, and other related training activities. We help them become familiar with how studies and trials are conducted here at Stanford, and they essentially become an integral part of the MCHRI family. Over time, our ultimate goal is to learn from each other.” 

Stanford investigators can learn more by visiting MCHRI’s Clinical Research Coordinator Services webpage. Services are offered through the Clinical Research Support Office (CRSO), a centralized resource hub for physicians, nurse and allied-health researchers, as well as all hospital departments and service lines.

“I love knowing that our research coordinator [Allie DaCar] has a group of people supporting her and a cohort of other research coordinators to build relationships with,” says Lana Henthorn, PHR, Clinical Division Manager for Divisions of Pediatric Pulmonary and Critical Care.

Roxanna Van Norman is the marketing manager for the Stanford Maternal and Child Health Research Institute.