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Clinical & Translational Science Institute / Services and Support / Greater Rochester Practice-Based Research Network

Greater Rochester Practice-Based Research Network (GR-PBRN)

The Greater Rochester-PBRN (GR-PBRN) was established in 2007 to bring together primary care clinicians and researchers in a collaborative model designed to improve patient care and outcomes. Our collective efforts include research initiatives with all populations, where science can translate to better care.

FeaturesGreater Rochester PBRN Practice map

The GR-PBRN has 147 member practices from primary care specialties and all local health systems (University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC), Rochester Regional Health System and the area's largest federally-qualified health clinics). The Network currently consists of 40 pediatric practices, 48 family medicine practices, 37 internal medicine practices and 21 multi-specialty practices. The research network includes clinicians who provide medical care to more than 450,000 adults (about 60% of Monroe County) and 140,000 children (85% of Monroe County). Member practices can choose to participate or not participate in any project, based on the individual needs and interests of the practice.


Research Study Pre-Screen for Practices

For primary care practices we pre-screen research studies for possible burden to practices and potential benefit to patients and practices. Member practices can say “yes” or “no” to any project, based on practice needs and priorities. We are building capacity to increase physician involvement in generating relevant research questions and championing improved integration of practice-based research and quality improvement.

  1. Identify a liaison to the GR-PBRN, usually a clinician.
  2. Fill out a Practice-Enrollment Form, so that we have an idea of some basic demographics of your practice, and your research interest areas.
  3. The liaison will receive occasional emails, describing research studies that have been reviewed and endorsed by the GR-PBRN.
  4. Clinicians in the practice decide whether or not to participate. It may be that some clinicians participate and others do not. Practices can say "yes" or "no" to any project.
  5. Occasionally, practices may receive information about a study that is pending funding, and looking for interested partners.

Research Consultation on Practice-Based Research and Recruitment for Researchers

We offer consultation on conducting practice-based research and recruiting from primary care practices, including:

  1. Protocol development
  2. IRB issues
  3. Identifying appropriate practices
  4. Making linkages with practices
  5. Study Design
  6. Letters of Support
  7. Training for investigators and research staff in maintaining practice relationships.

Get Started

Research Study Pre-Screen for Practices

Email the GR-PBRN with details about your study.

Research Consultation on Practice-Based Research and Recruitment for Researchers

  1. Researchers must fill out a Yellow Sheet describing their study.
  2. If the study is "low burden" to practices, we ask researchers to attend one of our monthly executive committee meetings to discuss ways to collaborate.
  3. If the study is "moderate burden" or a quality improvement project for practices, we ask the researcher to meet with our executive committee, and with our steering committee, which meets quarterly.


Email the GR-PBRN with questions about our services.

Executive Committee

The Executive Committee meets monthly to screen practice-based research studies and collaborate with researchers on ways to engage community clinicians in research.

Research Co-Directors

Kevin Fiscella, M.D., M.P.H.
Professor of Family Medicine

Sean Frey, M.D., M.P.H.
Associate Professor of Pediatrics

Clinical Co-Directors

Carlos Swanger, M.D.
Clinton Crossings Internal Medicine
Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine

Gary J. Noronha, M.D.
Rochester Internal Medicine Associates
Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine

Network Coordinator

Karen Vitale, M.S.Ed.


What is a Practice-Based Research Network (PBRN)?

A Practice-Based Research Network (PBRN) is a group of separate practices that collaborate with each other and often with researchers to ask and answer clinical and organizational questions central to primary care.

How does clinical research recruitment typically work?

Clinicians in Rochester rarely directly recruit or consent participants for research. Usually, practices do one or more of the following:

  1. Allow research flyers in the waiting area or exam rooms
  2. Send letters to potentially eligible patients, telling them of the opportunity to participate in a study.
  3. Refer patients to studies that may be of interest

All of these strategies depend on the practice's needs and preferences. Studies receive review and approval from an Institutional Review Board before being implemented in practices.

What about research studies that focus on primary care delivery and health services?

These may be quality improvement projects or clinician learning collaboratives, and sometimes qualify clinicians for maintenance of certification. These tend to be higher burden to practice clinicians and staff but are also more likely to answer questions that are directly relevant to primary care practice and everyday care. These kinds of studies get a higher level of review by our Steering Committee of community clinicians. Again, practices decide whether or not to participate, on a case-by-case basis, based on their own needs and priorities.

Community Clinician Steering Committee

Our Community Clinician Steering Committee is comprised of practicing community clinicians in primary care, representing independent practices and multiple local health systems. The Community Clinician Steering Committee meets three to four times per year, often reviewing practice-based studies and quality improvement projects with researchers to find ways to minimize burden for practices and maximize potential benefits for patients and practices.

Jeffrey Allen, M.D.
Rochester Regional Health

Tom Campbell, M.D.
UR Family Medicine

Carolyn Cleary, M.D.
Elmwood Pediatrics

Mathew Devine, D.O.
Highland Family Medicine

Colleen Fogarty, M.D.
Highland Family Medicine

Wallace Johnson, M.D.
UR Medicine Primary Care

Douglas Liano, M.D.
Rochester Regional Health

Michael D. Mendoza, M.D., M.P.H.
Commissioner of Public Health, Monroe County

Sanford Mayer, M.D.

Bridgette Wiefling, M.D.
Rochester Regional Health

Heidi R. Zinkand, M.D.
Jordan Health