Research Affairs

There's been a significant increase in funding for research programs

By: Tina Bottini, M.P.A.

Funding for research programs sponsored by the University of Florida College of Medicine – Jacksonville totaled $21.5 million in fiscal year 2017. Federal government-sponsored funding totaled $15.5 million. The federal and federal flow-down-sponsored funding was 72 percent of the total funding for UF COMJ in fiscal year 2017. That funding amount increased by nearly 40 percent from the year before.

Four candidates for senior associate dean for research interviewed on campus over the past several months. Each candidate gave a lecture open to faculty and staff, and the presentations were well-received. The search committee will make recommendations to the dean shortly after selected candidates visit the Jacksonville and Gainesville campuses again. The Research Advisory Group has continued discussions in anticipation for the new associate dean’s arrival.

Obesity intervention

Jacksonville researchers will play an integral role in a recently awarded $2.1 million project that targets obesity. It’s titled “Culturally Sensitive, Primary Clinic-Based Interventions by Community Health Workers and Trained Physicians to Promote and Sustain Weight Loss among Black Women Patients with Obesity.” The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute authorized the funding for this project, which was announced by its Board of Governors last month.

Nipa Shah, M.D.

Carolyn Tucker, Ph.D., a professor of psychology and director of the UF Health Disparities Research and Intervention Program on the Gainesville campus, will serve as principal investigator. Nipa Shah, M.D., chair of community health and family medicine at UF COMJ, is the co-principal investigator.

The vast majority of the project will be performed in Jacksonville using the community health and family medicine practices, integrating community health workers who will test the effectiveness of a culturally sensitive, evidence-based, multicomponent behavioral program for treating obesity. The Center for Health Equity and Quality Research is involved in the planning, implementing, evaluation and dissemination of study results. The project begins this fall.

Welcoming Dr. Bajwa

Wajeeh Bajwa, Ph.D., recently joined the Office of Research Affairs as Jacksonville IRB-03’s research regulatory manager. Previously, he worked with the Clinical and Translational Science Institute as director of Regulatory Knowledge and Support programs. Prior to UF, he worked at Duke University Medical Center as an assistant research professor of surgery.

Wajeeh Bajwa, Ph.D.

On the basis of his work at Duke, the National Center of Research Resources initiated the Research Subject Advocate program for all general clinical research centers. He was a founding member of the Society of Research Subject Advocates.

Bajwa is available to attend departmental faculty meetings and will provide educational and training sessions on research regulations, compliance and other clinical research topics. The Office of Research Affairs soon will present a formal list of sessions Bajwa will host.

Workshops and training sessions

Several education and training sessions have been provided on the Jacksonville campus in recent weeks. At the end of August, there was an open lab that delivered information on UFIRST and MyUFL commitments. There will soon be a workshop on the essentials of obtaining a Career Development Award, also known as a K award. We can offer these training sessions again in the coming months and are open to providing any other educational series, as requested.

Remembering Dr. Wears

Robert Wears, M.D., Ph.D

On a sad note, the Jacksonville research community experienced a terrible loss in July with the passing of Robert Wears, M.D., Ph.D. Wears was an international expert in patient safety, and was well-funded by numerous federal and nonprofit organizations. His publications were prolific and highly recognized by his colleagues. He was an inspiration to us all and will be extremely missed.