Navigating the Frontiers of Medical Research Administration: The DoM-RA Team at Duke Department of Medicine

The Department of Medicine Research Administration (DoM-RA) team stands as a beacon of support and facilitation, dedicated to propelling scientific discovery and medical breakthroughs that improve human health. In the intricate landscape of medical research, DoM-RA plays a pivotal role in providing exemplary service and infrastructure, promoting core values, and upholding public trust.   

DoM-RA, a vital cog in the machinery of medical research, is not just an administrative entity; it is a guardian of the public trust. “Our mission is to enhance and support the research community within the Department of Medicine,” said Director of Basic Research Administration Denise Wynn, DBA.  “DoM-RA envisions a future where scientific discoveries positively impact human health, and our core values of Acceptance, Accountability, Integrity, Optimism, Professionalism, Teamwork, and Transparency underscore our dedication to fostering an environment conducive to groundbreaking research.” 

Denise Wynn
Denise Wynn, DBA

DoM-RA stands out in scale, being four times larger than any other unit within the Department of Medicine. All federal or foundation funding designated for the Department of Medicine flows through DoM-RA, underscoring its crucial role in the financial ecosystem of medical research. Collaborating with faculty and trainees across the department, contract and grant administrators (CGA) work tirelessly to ensure the smooth flow of operations.  

Structured into seven teams, DoM-RA efficiently manages day-to-day operations crucial for research initiatives. Faculty members, in their pursuit of grants, are assigned a CGA who acts as a dedicated point of contact within DoM-RA, fostering collaboration in the grant application process. Each CGA handles approximately ten faculty members, collectively processing an impressive 50-60 proposals each month. In the last fiscal year alone, the team processed 611 proposals.  

Following the COVID-19 pandemic, DoM-RA's operations are fully remote, with team members scattered across the country. However, Wynn will personally meet with faculty members when necessary.   

Last year, DoM-RA was awarded the administrative award for its transformative efforts in streamlining the grant application process. In response to the prior emphasis on maximizing grant applications, DoM-RA embarked on a comprehensive initiative. Engaging with nearly 700 faculty members and investing approximately 3000 hours, the team assessed time allocation and ensured compliance with grant requirements.  

The outcome was a paradigm shift towards consistency. DoM-RA diligently standardized processes, achieving compliance and preventing the inadvertent oversight of grant requirements. This meticulous approach resulted in a more streamlined and consistent workflow. Presently, DoM-RA continues to monitor compliance, conducting monthly reviews to ensure ongoing adherence to standards.  

“I extend heartfelt gratitude to the dedicated members of the DOM-RA team,” said Wynn. “Their unwavering commitment and hard work within the expansive landscape of medical research, particularly in managing the challenges of our large department, are invaluable. Their collective efforts are instrumental in propelling us forward in the pursuit of transformative scientific discoveries and advancements in health care." 

The DoM-RA team emerges as a cornerstone in medical research administration. As they navigate the frontiers of research administration, DoM-RA exemplifies the synergy of dedication, expertise, and vision, making them an indispensable asset to the Department of Medicine and the broader medical research community.