Shaping the Future of Military Medicine

Story Number: NNS170826-02Release Date: 8/26/2017 11:46:00 AM
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By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Harley K. Sarmiento

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- One of Naval Medical Center San Diego's (NMCSD) primary missions is to shape the future of military medicine through education, training and research. NMCSD Clinical Investigations Department (CID) carries out the mission to the fullest.

CID supports this mission by achieving academic excellence with operational relevance. NMCSD delivers clinical care and graduate medical education for all healthcare professionals while performing military relevant medical research in support of war-fighting, operational forces.

"I don't think people realize, but we are the largest Institutional Review Board (IRB) in the Navy," said head of CID, Dr. John D. Malone. "We currently have over 300 active IRB protocols."

IRB protocols are developed and submitted by researchers within NMCSD. The IRB oversees the research process through scheduled meetings, reviews various aspects of the proposed research and grants approvals.

NMCSD CID also supports the graduate education system. From doctors to dentists, scholarly activity plays a major role in NMCSD's day-to-day operations.

"We are a very large component of the research process involving Cooperate Research and Development Agreements (CRADA)," said Malone. "These are huge, they are research projects done between a government entity, like us, and an outside company. We currently have over 100 CRADAs in progress."

There is a definite trend with increased quality of scholarly activity as reflected by the percentage increase of articles compared to case reports, according to Malone. In 2013, the percentage of NMCSD articles was a little more than 40 percent. These numbers climbed gradually to 57 percent for the first six months of 2017. All of the departments throughout the hospital contribute to the CID's article increase.

"The peer reviewed articles carry a greater scientific impact," said Malone. "Technically, case reports aren't a formal medical research, so articles are worth so much more."

Most of the articles are written during off-duty hours. Not many of the doctors and nurses have time to take out of their busy appointment schedules to write articles while on the clock. The dedication our staff puts into their articles is usually done on their personal time.

"We feel a major contributor to this increase is the integration of research coordinators and research nurses into the departments," said Malone. "Having these researchers at the deck plate level is huge."

A research coordinator is responsible for conducting clinical trials using good clinical practice under the Principal Investigator. Research nurses are responsible for the care of a patient in treatment; this position focuses on patients participating in clinical trials to improve their health.

"With over 300 active protocols and over 100 cooperative agreements and partnerships with leaders in academia and industry, our Clinical Investigation Department is at the fore-front of supporting NMCSD in its readiness mission and shaping the future of military medicine," said Capt. Richard Green, director of NMCSD graduate medical education. "Under the skilled leadership of Dr. John D. Malone, his highly skilled and professional staff facilitates 'Academic Excellence with Operational Relevance' ensuring that our operational forces worldwide receive the most up-to-date and highly effective healthcare."

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