The last several months have been productive for the University of Florida College of Medicine – Jacksonville in procuring large research awards. In addition to the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute award to study weight loss interventions in the primary care setting, Jacksonville faculty members are launching two new projects.
We have received a five-year award from the National Institutes of Health to develop the Jacksonville Aging Studies Center, or JAX-ASCENT, which will be dedicated to aging research focused on racial minorities and older adults of low socioeconomic status. The center’s infrastructure will be housed on campus in the Professional Office Building. Space renovation will begin in early 2018.
The center will feature resources and personnel to support the development and execution of therapeutic, behavioral, nutritional and pharmacologic clinical trials and observational studies of determinants of health that contribute to chronic diseases and functional decline in older adults. JAX-ASCENT will collaborate with the University of Florida Institute on Aging in using their expertise in aging research and established resources.
Another large research project commencing on our campus is funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and involves the use of telemedicine to improve HIV care. This three-year initiative is designed to deliver medical services mostly to minority patients living with HIV. The telemedicine program will improve care delivery and provide greater access to medical care and case management services. This will be accomplished by reducing patient barriers, such as transportation and visit time, and system-level barriers, such as physician caseload and appointment backlogs.
The project involves the UF Center for HIV/AIDS Research, Education and Service, or UF CARES, and the primary care practices in the UF Health Jacksonville network. It expands upon the existing programs that provide telemedicine and HIV services, respectively.
A multidisciplinary community advisory board is being established to tailor the existing UF Health Jacksonville telemedicine program, develop standard operating procedures and create marketing materials. The board will include patients, physicians, nurses, case managers, administrators, telemedicine leaders, information technology specialists and UF Health marketing personnel.
The search committee for the senior associate dean for research position recommended three candidates to the dean for his consideration. He is meeting with the top candidates and will soon begin final discussions and negotiations.
Institutional Review Boards
UF Institutional Review Boards are under review for accreditation by the Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Programs. The accreditation is required as part of the Florida Department of Health’s Cancer Center of Excellence designation. Additionally, it demonstrates our institution’s commitment to the highest standard for human research protection programs. Representatives will be interviewing Jacksonville IRB (IRB-03) researchers and staff in January.
IRB-03 mandated all expedited and full-board studies be entered into the electronic system, myIRB, effective February 2017. IRB-03 has allowed investigators to avoid converting certain types of active studies to myIRB. However, recently revised federal regulations called Common Rule, effective in 2018, will result in changes that UF IRBs must implement. As a result, all studies that have been approved in the old IRB database (i.e., in paper) must be converted to myIRB or closed prior to the expiration date. IRB-03 is encouraging investigators to convert active projects to myIRB prior to expiration as promptly as possible. For questions about converting to myIRB, call 904.244.9746.