ATLANTA, Dec. 4, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- On Thursday, Dec. 6, Morehouse School of Medicine will unveil Georgia's first mobile clinical research unit at a ribbon cutting ceremony scheduled for 1 p.m. at the Louis M. Sullivan National Center for Primary Care upper plaza parking lot, located at 720 Westview Drive in Atlanta. This mobile unit is the first of its kind for the State and offers an opportunity for MSM researchers to access individuals in rural areas who would otherwise have difficulties reaching a research center.
"This mobile unit is an extension of our research center," said Dr. Elizabeth Ofili, director of the Clinical Research Center and associate dean of clinical research at Morehouse School of Medicine. "It brings state-of-the-art, sophisticated research capabilities to the communities of our more than 150 partners across Georgia."
The mobile clinical research unit, which spans roughly 30 ft. in length, will visit communities in metro Atlanta, as well as key areas of difficult-to-reach populations in Macon, Fort Valley, Albany, Columbus and Augusta, Ga. These communities have clinics and practices who have long partnered with Morehouse School of Medicine to improve the quality of care for their patients and are therefore ideal as the initial areas of reach for the mobile unit.
"Morehouse School of Medicine is seamless with the communities we serve, and this mobile unit is just another way of engaging our communities," said Dr. Priscilla Johnson, associate director of clinical research operations for Morehouse School of Medicine's Clinical Research Center. "We are essentially expanding access for these individuals to participate in clinical research opportunities."
"This mobile unit affords us the opportunity to learn about various health disparities that still plague our communities and will extend our research excellence," said Dr. Sandra Harris-Hooker, senior associate dean and vice president for research affairs at Morehouse School of Medicine.
The mobile clinical research unit is a self-contained, handicap accessible, mobile research facility with state-of-the-art equipment and technology used to conduct similar research to what Morehouse School of Medicine is able to do in its own labs at the Clinical Research Center. Existing research which may leverage the use of the mobile unit include vitamin D studies, stroke prevention studies, hypertension studies and diabetes among others. It contains two exam rooms, a laboratory, private areas for patient interviews, a restroom and audio/visual technology for patient education. Onboard equipment includes cardiac monitors, refrigerator and freezer, portable ultrasound, scale and computers with internet access.
"What makes this unit so unique is its sole dedication to research and education. This mobile clinical research unit is allowing us to take intervention and prevention to our patients. Research should not be limited to walls, and with this unit, we can be 'hands-on' right in the streets of our communities," said Dr. Valerie Montgomery Rice, dean and executive vice president at Morehouse School of Medicine.
For more information on Morehouse School of Medicine's mobile clinical research unit or to learn more about the latest research at Morehouse School of Medicine, visit www.msm.edu.
About Clinical Research at Morehouse School of Medicine
The Clinical Research Center has served as the hub for clinical research at MSM since 1996 so as to provide faculty with an outpatient research site uniquely suited to the pursuit of clinical and translational studies in minorities and underrepresented populations. It was the first freestanding research facility of its kind to be accredited by Joint commission Accreditation for Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO). Research faculty, physicians, students and community partners collaborate to discover new treatments in heart disease, diabetes, cancer, stroke and HIV/AIDS.
The National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD), a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), partially supports the Mobile Clinical Research Unit and Clinical Research Center at Morehouse School of Medicine: Grant Number 8U54MD007588.
About Morehouse School of Medicine
Morehouse School of Medicine is one the nation's most widely recognized community-based medical schools, established to recruit and train minority and other students from disadvantaged backgrounds as physicians, biomedical scientists and public health practitioners. The institution's mission places special emphasis on primary care training; development of model community-based health services and the conduct of research and translation of discovery to benefit vulnerable populations and ultimately eliminate health inequities.
The School offers doctoral programs in medicine and biomedical research; and Master of Science degree programs in public health and clinical investigation. It also sponsors graduate training (residency) programs in family medicine, internal medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics, psychiatry, public health and preventive medicine, and general surgery.
Morehouse School of Medicine annually ranks as one of the top U.S. medical schools in the percentage of graduates practicing primary care specialties. The School ranks # 1 in the first-ever study of all U.S. medical schools in the area of social mission. Such recognition underscores the vital role that MSM plays in the nation's health care system.
Morehouse School of Medicine is accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education, and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. It is also a member of the Atlanta University Center Consortium, the world's oldest and largest association of historically black colleges and universities. For more information about Morehouse School of Medicine, visit us online at www.msm.edu.
SOURCE Morehouse School of Medicine