New Orleans area higher education briefs for June 10, 2013

Tulane to double clinical trials

Tulane has almost tripled the size of patient treatment areas in a newly renovated Clinical Research Office within the Tidewater Building that is expected to more than double the capacity for clinical trials within the School of Medicine.

The Clinical Translational Unit has grown from three treatment areas to eight, including an infusion room, a multi-bed, blood-draw area, a pediatric treatment room and space for minimally invasive procedures.

Funding for the project came from Tulane’s portion of a $20 million National Institutes of Health grant supporting biomedical research in the state through the newly created Louisiana Clinical and Translational Science Center.

“We are easily going to double our clinical trial portfolio over the next year or two, and that is all because of this infrastructure,” said Tulane cardiologist Dr. Patrice Delafontaine, co-principal investigator for the LA CaTS grant.

“I think it increases our visibility nationally in a major way, frankly. We are getting more requests to do NIH-sponsored trials.”

The facility also allows Tulane researchers to better coordinate and collaborate with other partners in the LA CaTS program, including the Pennington Biomedical Research Center and LSU, Delafontaine said.

There are roughly 50 trials underway with several more expected to begin this summer, said Roberta McDuffie, LA CaTS facilitator and director of clinical research for Endocrine and Cardiology.

To expand recruitment, McDuffie recently spearheaded an online registry for clinical trials.

This summer, she is launching an outreach effort with area community organizations and clinics to increase awareness about the clinical trial program at Tulane.

Fund promotes
rural medicine

A new fund will allow more third-year medical students at Tulane School of Medicine to experience the benefits and rewards of practicing rural medicine.

The Ernest G. DeBakey Rural Education Fund was established to expand clerkship opportunities outside the New Orleans area to a variety of rural placement sites. These sites will include new areas of Louisiana, southern Mississippi and Alabama.

Student housing and travel costs has made expansion into new rural areas and partnering with new physicians a challenge. The Ernest G. DeBakey Rural Education Fund will provide funding for these expenses, allowing more students to develop strong relationships with practicing physicians and a new community.

The Ernest G. DeBakey Charitable Foundation is named in memory of the late Dr. Ernest G. DeBakey. Ernest DeBakey and his brother Dr. Michael DeBakey were both graduates of the medical school and held strong ties to the university.

The foundation also provides full scholarship support for one medical student for the duration of their four years at Tulane University School of Medicine.

Marsha DeBakey, president of the Ernest G. DeBakey Charitable Foundation, said her husband had a special place in his heart for both rural medicine and Tulane Medical School.

Loyola colloboration wins recognition

The Louisiana Small Business Development Center of the Greater New Orleans Region has been named the top small business development center in the nation, earning the U.S. Small Business Administration’s SBDC Excellence and Innovation Award.

Center director Carmen Sunda will accept the award during a private ceremony held in conjunction with National Small Business Week from June 17-21 in Washington, D.C.

The center is a collaboration of Loyola, Delgado Community College, Southern University at New Orleans and Xavier University of Louisiana.

Through this partnership, the center has been able to expand its reach throughout greater New Orleans and beyond.

The Excellence and Innovation Award is given annually to the Small Business Development Center program that demonstrates excellence in providing value to small businesses and advancing program delivery and management through innovation.

The center was selected from 1,000 centers nationwide to receive the award.

Compiled by
the New Orleans bureau