Saturday, April 30, 2016

Building momentum

It's been a good week here in Vermont for the IBH-PC team. We had a great "kick-off" call with the staff from PCORI (Els Houtsmuller, Alex Hartzman, Iris Giggetts and Michelle Johnston-Fleece) who taught us all about how PCORI is organized and finances and reporting and contracting and milestones and such.

Juvena Hitt, Project Manager and IRB Wizard
Then, on Friday, UVM's IRB approved the research protocol.  This happened much faster than we expected, thanks in large part to the expert efforts of Juvena Hitt. Now we can proceed with coordinating the dozens of other IRBs that need to approve the identical protocol.

As I described in a previous post, the research effort is divided into seven teams. This week, I'd like to tell you about the Executive Team which is tasked with setting policy, making strategic decisions and coordinating all the other teams. The team has met weekly for the last several months. It includes:

  • Abigail Crocker, Statistician
  • Sylvie Frisbie, Research Associate
  • Juvena Hitt, Project Manager
  • Jen Lavoie, Co-investigator
  • Ben Littenberg, Principal Investigator
  • Rodger Kessler, Co-PI
  • Connie van Eeghen, Project Director
  • Jon van Luling, Research Assistant

So far, the team has:

  • Organized the teams
  • Established internal group norms
  • Established online communication & documentation tools (including this blog!)
  • Secured the prime contract with PCORI
  • Drafted subcontracts and agreements with consultants, non-UVM coinvestigators at other sites
  • Refined criteria and process for site participation (“on-boarding”)
  • Reviewed the first draft educational modules
and thanked our lucky stars for our great collaborators all over the country!

Best wishes and happy integrating,


Sunday, April 17, 2016

It's alive!

We have received the signed contract from PCORI (backdated to April 1, thank you very much) that makes the project official.

Of course, many of us have been busy behind the scenes for many months getting ready to kick this machine into high gear.  They include 16 investigators, 3 consultants, 6 project staff, 9 site cluster leaders, 15 advisors, and many support staff at UVM and the collaborating institutions around the country. Soon, we will have site leaders and staff from 40 clinical sites as well, not to mention our sponsors at PCORI who put in great efforts to get this complex proposal through approval process.

Getting organized is a big challenge, so we have taken a divide-and-conquer strategy.  We split the work into 7 areas: Site Management, Practice Change, Education, Evaluation, Engagement, Dissemination, and an Executive team to coordinate it all.  The teams are being activated sequentially to try to keep the chaos to a minimum. Over the next few weeks, I will post descriptions of the teams and what they will be doing.

In the meantime, we are

  • putting together the subcontracts and work agreements that move funds from the prime contractor (UVM) to the various other participants and institutions. 
  • developing communication methods to keep all 90+ participants in the loop.
  • planning an investigators' meeting for August 25-26 in Burlington
  • developing the educational modules that form a big part of the intervention
  • refining the toolkit for the practice redesign teams
  • meeting with cluster leaders to identify and on-board the clinical sites
  • finalizing the data abstraction details,
  • recruiting a post-doctoral fellow, and
  • doing other stuff that I can't even remember right now...
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As always, thanks for your support.