Human experiments will begin to take place on Ohio University’s main campus this summer, but, don’t worry, they’re part of the curriculum.
OU’s Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine opened a new facility April 30, geared toward conducting clinical trials and other studies on human subjects.
The college’s new space, located in Irvine Hall on West Green, houses the newly created “Clinical & Translational Research Unit.” Occupying nearly 4,000 square feet, the converted facility is equipped with patient examination rooms, an exercise physiology laboratory, an electrophysiology laboratory, a phlebotomy room, imaging facilities and a laboratory processing station, according to a news release.
Through OU-HCOM’s medical clinics, students can learn and observe basic skills while helping patients.
Through its Vision 2020: Leading the Transformation of Primary Care Award, the Osteopathic Heritage Foundation provided $6 million in startup funding for the unit, which was used to purchase “vital equipment,” medical supplies and a staff, Dr. Laura Rush, the executive director of the unit, said.
OU also worked with the college during the move.
The Clinical & Translational Research Unit looks to support OU faculty in various aspects of clinical trials, including budget development, project coordination, subject recruitment, data collection and institutional review board assistance, according to the release.
OU students have the opportunity to utilize the unit either to assist in studies or to conduct their own studies under the supervision of a faculty mentor, Rush said.
Nearly 60 percent of OU-HCOM’s graduates currently practice in the state of Ohio.
The faculty of the Clinical & Translational Research Unit consists of eight people, which, along with the Rush, include a medical director, two research nurses, two projects managers, an administrative associate and a clinical research scientist.
Rush applauded her staff as people who love the Athens community and want to move health care forward.
“We have top-notch staff who know clinical trials, maintain the high standards required for patient safety and observe meticulous record keeping,” she said in the release.
Rush also said that because of the degree of difficulty faced when conducting clinical trials, the new facility would allow faculty to help better execute them from start to finish and allow the scientists to focus on science.
HCOM Executive Dean Kenneth H. Johnson said the unit will give the college recognition as a program for cutting-edge clinical research.
“Clinical studies that tackle pervasive health problems bring attention to the college and the university,” he said in the release. “They open the door to more opportunities for collaboration and funding, which are essential to help researchers advance medical care in our communities.”