ED Enrollers Tap Emergency Room Visitors to Participate in Research

Feb. 4, 2014

With more than 100,000 patients a year coming to the emergency room at UR Medicine’s Strong Memorial Hospital, it’s a valuable piece of real estate for investigators seeking to enroll patients in their research studies.emmergency room visitor parking sign

A program in place to leverage that opportunity – known as the ED Research Associate Program – has a couple of relatively new leaders: Nathan Franus, MBA, research administrator for Emergency Medicine, and Beau Abar, Ph.D., assistant professor, Emergency Medicine and Psychiatry. They supervise 28 UR undergraduate students who staff the emergency department 16 hours a day from 8 a.m. to midnight, identifying and screening potential study volunteers and then completing the confidential enrollment process as required by the study protocol. The enrollers also work at Highland Hospital’s ED from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.

Having access to a broad demographic – a snapshot of society -- is helpful for a range of investigations of varying complexity, including the flu, head injury, fainting spells among the elderly, child-rearing, or how best to triage trauma cases, for example. Recently the enrollers distinguished Rochester as a top enrolling site nationally in a concussion study – and the program is poised for more activity in 2014, Franus said.

The ED program is extremely popular among UR undergraduates interested in medicine and science. Students who are selected for one of 25 spots on the team have high academic credentials, are goal-driven and excellent communicators. They receive training in the fundamentals of clinical research, followed by a continuous learning model that requires them to give feedback to investigators on the challenges and successes of enrollment.

The cost is based on a utilization scale. For more information, please contact Franus at 275-8140,, or visit

In addition, the Clinical Translational Science Institute (CTSI) provides personal assistance or online help with subject recruitment, including ResearchMatch, a nationwide registry sponsored by the CTSA Consortium. For more information about services to principal investigators, please check the CTSI website.