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URMC / Clinical & Translational Science Institute / Stories / July 2023 / Clinical Research Center’s Emergency Move Ensures Continuous Volunteer Care

Clinical Research Center’s Emergency Move Ensures Continuous Volunteer Care

Nurse Ann Miller and a young patient at the Clinical Research CenterThe day after Christmas, the Clinical Research Center (CRC) got a holiday surprise on no one’s wish list: a burst pipe in their building’s upper stairwell. Water descended several floors, ultimately flooding the basement and making the building unusable, especially for clinical research-centered work.

UR CTSI Co-Director Martin Zand, MD, PhD, called Director of Research Services Carrie Dykes, PhD, and Nurse Manager Ann Miller, RN, MS, to come up with a solution to get the research center back up and operational as soon as possible. Dykes and Miller proposed temporarily setting up operations in the UR CTSI’s home, the Saunders Research Building, just across the street.

It was a massive logistical effort by both CRC and UR Facilities and Services to move equipment across Crittenden Boulevard and prep the office space to be study subject ready. UR Facilities and Services pulled up carpet, installed new sinks, created three ad hoc exam rooms, set up a blood draw room, and designated a stretch of the building for movement and mobility therapy.

The team also converted space for ongoing overnight stays so that volunteer contributions to research would not be interrupted. Housekeeping Services provided a seamless continuity of support.

Due to the team’s hard work, the CRC was offline for only a week.

“We started doing visits again with only two or three exam rooms, prioritizing volunteers who would have otherwise missed a scheduled visit,” Dykes said.

So far, the relocation has been challenging but successful, especially for the researchers and their study subjects.

“The CRC staff and their partners went above and beyond, ensuring there was no interruption in care or clinical trial visits,” said Christopher Palma, MD,  Director of the Clinical Research Center.

As Facilities and Services evaluated the damage to the original building, it became clear that the move would last longer than a few weeks or months. Dykes and Miller discussed the possibility of a long-term stay at the UR CTSI offices with Co-Director Zand.

“We had to ask: how can we make where we’re staying better for a long haul?” Dykes said. “We are looking at a relocation of eighteen months to two years.”

With volunteer visits and overnight stays ongoing, the leadership group determined that the Saunders Research Building would remain CRC’s temporary home for the time being. Dykes said that additional equipment will soon be installed or relocated to the offices, including a DEXA bone density scanner. In the meantime, CRC is coordinating with UR Medicine Orthopedics & Physical Performance to scan volunteers at their Red Creek location.

The CRC is planning a formal event to recognize their temporary relocation sometime in August.

Michael Hazard | 7/19/2023

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