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Clinical Research Unit Ribbon Cutting July 27

By Eddy Ball
January 2009

Photo of the CRU building
The CRU building is nestled in the trees next to the main NIEHS building in Research Triangle Park, NC. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

Photo of patient room at the CRU
The facility is set up for seeing patients and running non-invasive functional tests as part of clinical research at NIEHS. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

Photo of CRU Pulmonary function lab
NIEHS interest in asthma and other respiratory disease is reflected by the equipment in the CRU pulmonary function lab. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

NIEHS will cut the ribbon on its new Clinical Research Unit (CRU) before an audience of scientists and distinguished visitors on July 27 at its Research Triangle Park, NC campus. NIEHS and National Toxicology Program Director Linda Birnbaum, Ph.D., and Acting Clinical Director Darryl Zeldin, M.D., the event host and moderator, are slated to speak at the ceremony, which will also feature other speakers and an afternoon of scientific seminars. Distinguished guests include Representative David Price, Ph.D., US Senator Kay Hagan and NIH Deputy Director for Intramural Research Michael Gottesman, M.D.

When Birnbaum approved opening the CRU earlier this year, she described it as "an important resource for scientific collaboration across our entire Institute and with local researchers. Our ultimate goal for the CRU," she said, "is to enable researchers to translate their basic laboratory findings to humans and to enhance the public health relevance of our research." During the weeks leading up to the ribbon cutting, the CRU will collect its first samples from study participants.

According to Birnbaum, the kinds of activities to be supported by the CRU include simple medical tests and procedures such as collection of easily accessible body fluids and tissues, pulmonary function studies, allergy skin testing and ultrasound. "All studies will undergo rigorous scientific review," she said, "and will require approval by a CRU Utilization Committee, the Institutional Review Board and the Acting Clinical Director. This procedure will assure that the guidelines are followed and that all studies are safe."

The CRU recently hosted colleagues from the NIH Clinical Center (NIH CC) ( Exit NIEHS for a site visit, which included touring the unit, reviewing standard operating procedures and making recommendations to enhance efficiency and quality of care. The group included Deputy Director for Clinical Care David Henderson, M.D., Special Assistant to the Deputy Director for Clinical Care Laura Lee, R.N., Hospital Safety Officer Michele Evans, Dr. P.H., Chief Information Officer Jon McKeeby, D.Sc., and Clinical Nurse Informaticist Norma Street, R.N.

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