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FSU College of Medicine To Receive Funding for Florida Health Research Network

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 July 21, 2015

Contact: Doug Carlson
(850) 645-1255


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. –Working with partners statewide, the Florida State University College of Medicine is preparing to significantly expand the body of knowledge physicians have available in caring for their patients, including more than a million residents of the Big Bend region and South Georgia.

The College of Medicine on Tuesday received notice of $1.5 million in funding to help establish a statewide research network of community-based health-care providers and their patients in order to conduct comparative effectiveness research. The funding represents a portion of $7.9 million awarded to the OneFlorida Clinical Research Consortium by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), an independent non-profit, nongovernmental organization located in Washington, D.C.

“This type of research is designed to help health-care providers make better treatment and care decisions for their patients by providing scientific evidence on the effectiveness and benefits of various interventions,” said Myra Hurt, senior associate dean for research and graduate programs at the College of Medicine. “That includes things like medical tests, administration of pharmaceutical drugs, treatment devices and ways to deliver health care.”

The OneFlorida Clinical Research Consortium includes grant authors the University of Florida Clinical Translational Science Institute and UF Health, University of Miami Health, Health Choice Network-Florida Regional Extension Centers, the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration and the Florida Department of Health.

The three-year grant will help the OneFlorida Clinical Research Consortium establish a network that will include 914 clinic/practice settings, 4,100 physicians, 22 hospitals and 13 million patients, or 68 percent of all Floridians.

The FSU College of Medicine’s partners include the FSU College of Communication and Information, Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare, Capital Health Plan, Florida Hospital in Orlando and Orlando Health. In addition, the College of Medicine will be able to involve the majority of the 2,500 physicians statewide who teach FSU medical students.

“The relationships the College of Medicine has established through our community-based medical education program have created a foundation that will bring patients in those communities into this network,” Hurt said.

In Florida, a small and traditionally homogeneous portion of the 20 million residents is represented in research studies that occur in academic health centers. By developing a broad and inclusive network, the College of Medicine will be able to help physicians gain access to data more representative of the state’s population.

An example is the patient population served by Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare.

“TMH’s service area includes rural and urban communities, characterized by racial and ethnic diversity, wide variations in socioeconomic status and a range of health-care needs,” said TMH President and CEO Mark O’Bryant. “The diversity of TMH patient populations and their health-care needs is an excellent fit with research focusing on, for example, hypertension, obesity and rare diseases. Obesity and the co-occurring problems of diabetes and cardiovascular disease are particularly prevalent in our rural communities.”

The PCORI funding focuses on helping the OneFlorida Clinical Research Consortium harness patient data from a wide variety of locations. Collecting, de-identifying, organizing, storing and utilizing those data is an expensive and complicated process.

“But it’s also an invaluable process,” said Paula Fortunas, president and CEO of the TMH Foundation. “We are dedicated to contributing to research that improves the quality and outcomes of care for patients.”