The Michigan Clinical Research Unit (MCRU) has been serving our clinical and translational research community since 1977. Since 2006, the Michigan Institute for Clinical & Health Research (MICHR) has been the home for MCRU, for two primary reasons. First, MICHR was the primary support system for clinical trials. Second, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) mandated and supported such a clinical research unit as part of MICHR’s primary funding. However, over the past few years, the landscape of clinical research support has shifted, both institutionally and nationally. The Medical School Office of Research led the development of a new clinical trial network (the Clinical Trial Support Units, or CTSUs), which has its own central hub (the Clinical Trials Support Office, or CTSO), and the NIH discontinued funding for clinical research units like MCRU across the country. Thus, the primary reasons for MICHR being the home for MCRU were no longer applicable.
This shifting landscape prompted a strategic evaluation of where MCRU would best be situated. After extensive discussions among clinical research leadership at the medical school, it was decided that the CTSO would be the new home for MCRU. This made sense for a number of reasons. First and foremost, it better facilitates service responsiveness to the needs of CTSU investigators, who represent MCRU’s largest clientele. By moving MCRU to the CTSO, we are aligning with the goal of the NIH to “institutionalize” clinical research units, i.e., to move them out of translational science units and into the fabric of institutional research support systems. Finally, it allows MICHR more bandwidth to focus on its current cross-campus and national initiatives in translational science. We view this move as strategically aligned with a number of key stakeholders.
Therefore, as of July 1, 2019, MCRU will be under the administrative control of the CTSO, with MICHR as a supportive partner. We are also happy to announce that Dr. Njira Lugogo has agreed to serve as Medical Director of MCRU starting August 1, 2019. We thank Dr. Eric White for his leadership in the last few years. The strategic evaluation and decision making between the CTSO and MICHR has been highly collaborative and positive. Working together, we anticipate that the transition will be similarly smooth. During this transition, all MCRU operations will remain the same. We all look forward to better serving the community of clinical and translational researchers at the University of Michigan, and we will keep you apprised of further developments.