Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced more than $17.2 million has been awarded to 31 academic medical institutions across the state to help train physician researchers working on clinical research projects, ranging from the prevention of obesity to treatments for glaucoma.
The Empire Clinical Research Investigator Program provides essential support to hospitals across the state for training physicians in clinical research and improving the detection and treatment of diseases, Governor Cuomo said. These awards also help position New Yorks hospitals as international leaders in biomedicine, attracting top physicians and medical students and elevating our states standing for future federal research funds. But most of all, this program enhances the quality of health care statewide which will help create healthier and stronger communities for years to come.
The awards are given through the Empire Clinical Research Investigator Program (ECRIP), which provides funding to teaching hospitals to train physicians in clinical research. Funds help to cover the costs of physicians in training fellowships and the associated costs to conduct clinical research. Once ECRIP fellows conclude their training through this program, they will be well prepared to apply for National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other federal research funding. These awards will help train more than 100 physician researchers over the next two years.
New York State, once the leader in federal research funding, has not been able to secure as much NIH funding as it has over the past three decades and now ranks third in the nation in securing NIH funding, said State Health Commissioner, Nirav R. Shah, M.D., M.P.H. ECRIP funds are a critically important vehicle to reverse this trend. This newly designed program will help increase the number of clinical investigators and better position New York institutions to compete for federal research dollars.
ECRIP provides funding for community-related research specific to an institution's service area. It is an open and flexible program allowing institutions to hire fellows in any subject that represents a strategically important area of growth for the institution. The program was redesigned this year to continue the Individual Awards for all teaching hospitals and create larger team-based Center Awards for institutions more advanced in biomedical research.
Individual Awards are providing 19 institutions with $150,000 each. ECRIP fellows will be trained in diverse research fields, including: breast cancer detection; newborn genetic diseases; spinal cord injury; cardiovascular disease; nanoscale research for surgical implantation; HIV prevention; alcohol dependency; pain management; and patient centered medical homes.
Center Awards are providing 12 institutions with $1,197,766 each to train a team of at least five fellows per institution. Center Awards are designed to promote development of clinician researchers while providing seed funding for new federal center grants by requiring teaching hospitals to form research teams around themes. New York State is below the national average in its share of NIH funding for center grants, and such team building is vital to positioning New York institutions to compete for federal funding. This performance gap represents nearly $200 million in annual federal funding for biomedical research that ECRIP aims to restore.
Teaching hospitals had the option of submitting a secondary abstract formed around a separate theme that is independent of the primary project. Those institutions will split their award funding between the two projects. All 12 institutions have each committed at least $200,000 in direct matching funds for their projects.
We are fortunate for Commissioner Shah's leadership and excited over the unique educational opportunities ECRIP offers for our young physicians, said Mary Jane Massie, M.D., chair, NYS Council on Graduate Medical Education and chairman, Graduate Medical Education Committee at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. I first became involved with the State Council on GME when it became actively involved in biomedical research and seeking solutions to reverse a declining trend in the number of research scientists, as well as overall NIH funding, to New York institutions. We are excited about the tremendous potential this redesigned program will provide to advance clinical research across the State.
ECRIP was created by the New York State Council on Graduate Medical Education and has supported the training of physicians in clinical research since 2002.
Jo Wiederhorn, President and CEO of Associated Medical Schools of New York, said, ECRIP represents an important investment in the early-career development of talented scientists and helps leverage additional federal research awards to New York States academic medical centers. The program fosters further research and training collaborations among the states seven clinical and translational research centers the National Institutes of Health-funded centers dedicated to accelerating the pace of translating scientific discoveries into real-world therapies.
Dr. Steven J. Corwin, CEO of New York-Presbyterian Hospital, said, New York-Presbyterian is honored and excited to receive funding from the Empire Clinical Research Program. A core part of our mission as an academic medical center is the pursuit of scientific discovery and biomedical research to improve patient care. Through these awards, investigators at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center and New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center will have invaluable opportunities to contribute to medical progress and translate new discoveries into innovative approaches to improve the health of New Yorkers."
Steven M. Safyer, President and CEO, Montefiore Medical Center, said, Montefiore is honored to be a grant recipient of New York States Empire Clinical Research Investigator Program. New Yorks support will expand the breadth of training for junior faculty clinical researchers to include comparative effectiveness research and support existing substantial efforts at Montefiore. We applaud New York for expanding research funding and look forward to continuing to work with the Department of Health to inform and improve clinical practice both locally and across New York State.
Thomas McGinn, M.D., chairman of medicine, North Shore-LIJ Health System said, Training our best and brightest clinicians in patient-centered medical research and care, at all of our hospitals, is a priority of the health system. Promoting the development of clinician researchers while also providing seed funding for new federal center-type research projects is a win for everyone - doctors, patients and hospitals.
Mark Taubman, M.D., dean of the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry said, Surgical care and medical-based procedures are one of the largest components of the U.S. health care system, with more than 230 million performed annually for various conditions including cancer, cardiovascular disease, and stroke. This project will support research by junior faculty and trainees in several departments and will focus on identifying variations in care and risk factors, eliminating complications, and developing cost-effective models for seamless care that can be replicated across New York State.
Robert DAmico, M.D., Chairman, Department of Ophthalmology at Richmond University Medical Center, said, Richmond University Medical Centers (RUMC) first-ever ECRIP award, for a translational eye research project, is the result of collaboration between RUMC and SUNY Downstate. This project utilizes the clinical strengths of RUMC with the cutting edge research performed at SUNY Downstate. Two ECRIP fellows will receive support to develop an artificial trabecular meshwork to treat glaucoma, a potentially blinding disease that is very prevalent in populations traditionally served by RUMC.
Margaret Paroski, M.D., chief medical officer of Kaleida Health said, Kaleida Health is honored to have two of our abstracts receive funding. This essential funding will help to continue to train our physicians as clinical researchers with the goal of advancing bioscience in Buffalo and Western New York.
For more information on the ECRIP program visit: http://www.health.ny.gov/professionals/doctors/graduate_medical_education/ecrip/.