Clinical Research Saves Lives

Apr 14, 2023

How do we make scientific and medical breakthroughs? Research brings discovery. The scientific community at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia thrives on collaboration that leads to effective therapies, medical devices, and treatment techniques. From laboratory discoveries to establishing public polices that improve children’s safety, the research and work at CHOP transforms patients’ and their families’ lives.

This week at the OMI, the Salzburg CHOP seminar in Clinical Research Methods took place. The course is part of the OMI leadership series, in which only OMI alumni are selected and invited for the week. Dr. Allison Curry, Associate Professor in the Division of Emergency Medicine and Director of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the Center for Injury Research and Prevention, CHOP Roberts Center for Pediatric Research at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, served as the course director. Dr. Christine Forke, Dr. Rachel Myers, and Dr. Sage Myers, all from CHOP, completed the dynamic group of faculty.

32 fellows from 26 different countries gathered at Schloss Arenberg in Salzburg, Austria. The seminar provided an overview of several topics important to the design, conduct, and analysis of clinical research studies. The course is appropriate for physicians with a broad range of experience in conducting clinical research as part of their academic work. Lecture topics covered various clinical research study designs, specific methods to collect and analyze quantitative and qualitative data, the conduct of research to evaluate clinical programs, examine diagnostic tests, and improve the quality of clinical care, and practical topics such as conducting a systematic review, presenting research results, and writing and publishing manuscripts.

Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday afternoons offered various workshops for the fellows that provided an interactive forum to explore different study designs in more depth and to gain hands-on practice with different data collection and analytic techniques. Topics covered included: Developing a Research Question, Study Design Workshop, Survey Design Workshop, Qualitative Methods Workshop, Epi Measures of Association, and Biostatistics. Course participants were encouraged to bring a research question that they could further develop during the workshop sessions and receive feedback from the faculty.

The seminar was CME certified, and the learning objectives of the seminar included to apply the various components associated with conducting rigorous research in clinical and community settings, to develop and justify research questions relevant to their field of practice, identify study designs and methodologies that appropriately address these questions, and collect and analyze quantitative and qualitative data to answer these questions. Additionally, at the conclusion of the course, fellows should be able to conduct high-quality research to evaluate clinical programs, examine diagnostic tests, improve the quality of clinical care, as well as report and disseminate research findings via scientific presentations, systematic reviews, and peer-reviewed manuscripts.

Wednesday offered a well-deserved free afternoon, in which fellows could rest, explore the old town of Salzburg, or have cake and coffee in a traditional Austrian café. Faculty members visited Hallstatt, an ancient village in a breathtaking mountain setting, located on a lake that owes its existence to the rich salt deposit of salt in the mountain, as well as the Salzburg Salt mines, the world’s oldest salt mine to ever open its tunnels to visitors. Thursday evening provided a chamber music concert right here in Schloss Arenberg, exclusively for OMI faculty and fellows.

To conclude the seminar, the faculty and fellows celebrated together during the Friday evening graduation ceremony and formal dinner. Fellows who had excellent cases and academic excellence were acknowledged, and all fellows received their certifications of participation in the course. What a full and educational week!