The largest academic research organization in the world, the DCRI is known for its pioneering research in cardiology but performs clinical research across the spectrum of diseases, ranging from:
- Phase I to phase IV clinical trials
- Outcomes and quality research
- Registries of more than 100,000 patients
- Economic and quality-of-life studies in populations spanning more than 20 therapeutic areas
The DCRI grew out of the Duke Databank for Cardiovascular Diseases, which is one of the world's largest repositories of follow-up on patients who have documented coronary heart disease (more than 200,000 patients have been enrolled to date). The DCRI has evolved into an organization with major efforts in clinical trials, outcomes research, and health policy, and the DCRI expanded beyond the cardiovascular therapeutic area beginning in 1996.
The DCRI faculty includes clinician researchers, biostatisticians, health economists, and health services researchers. Currently, the DCRI comprises approximately 1,300 employees, including more than 200 faculty from all disciplines. Most DCRI researchers are also active practicing physicians, studying the application of research to patient care.
- Conducted studies at more than 3,500 sites in 64 countries
- More than 1,050,000 patients enrolled in DCRI studies
- More than 8,000 publications in peer-reviewed journals
- More than 730 phase I-IV trials and outcomes research projects completed
- More than 5,000 investigators worldwide
The DCRI offers a living laboratory for investigators of the future by combining faculty interests in specific research questions with the multifaceted environment needed to do outcome-based studies.
Trainees at the DCRI have the opportunity to experience firsthand the features of conducting domestic and international clinical trials and outcomes studies, including activities such as:
- Protocol development
- Study operations
- Continuing medical education curricula development
- Clinical events adjudication
- Operational functions such as project and data management, site management, and use of information technology specific to multi-center clinical research studies
Each cardiovascular trainee at the DCRI develops a relationship with a primary mentor who bears the responsibility of guiding the trainee’s career development. Within cardiovascular medicine, trainees are recommended to focus on either cardiovascular outcomes or clinical trials. However, trainees who focus on outcomes generally also work with at least one clinical trial, and clinical trial trainees generally conduct at least one database project. The mentor is expected to assist the fellow in developing a broad range of experiences with different types of faculty, not just to have the fellow work in his or her own research projects.
DCRI fellows attend a weekly DCRI Clinical Research Conference in which fellows, faculty, and visiting researchers present work in progress. The fellows also invite external leaders in cardiovascular medicine to conduct two-day visiting professor sessions including intensive small seminars with the fellows.
A critical component of the training program is the intense interaction between the clinician researchers and statisticians. The philosophy of the training program is that the most successful investigators in cardiovascular medicine will be able to combine superior knowledge of clinical cardiology with quantitative principles in an interactive, teamwork-oriented environment.
Cardiovascular fellows also have the opportunity to participate in coursework for the Clinical Research Training Program to obtain a Masters in Health Sciences in Clinical Research during their research fellowship at DCRI. This program offers in-depth training regarding biostatistics, clinical research design and methodology, cost-effectiveness research, and health economics.
The clinical research training offered to cardiovascular fellows at DCRI is unparalleled and represents a distinct advantage for trainees interested in a career in academic medicine and clinical investigation.
Lesley Curtis, PhD
Office: DCRI, North Pavilion, 2400 Pratt Street, Durham, NC 27705
Campus mail: DUMC Box 3850, Durham, NC 27710
For more information: dcri.duke.edu