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The Research Institute of St. Joe’s – Hamilton has built a reputation of excellence in research; including provision of in-depth quality assurance and oversight to each study being conducted under its authority – ranging from clinical trials to evaluative, translational, and fundamental research. The Research Institute has recently begun to provide these services to non-affiliated researchers.

Adam Weerdenburg, Research Quality Assurance Officer at the Research Institute, has recently started working with researchers at McMaster University on a groundbreaking tuberculosis study. The study is examining the efficacy of a novel vaccination method for tuberculosis.

As a third party, the Research Institute provides expert, impartial oversight to help nurture the high quality, collaborative research community that defines healthcare in Hamilton. Oversight is critical to ensuring that quality research is conducted in an ethical, scientific, and socially responsible manner.

The tuberculosis study is currently in the early stages. The Research Institute will continue to provide third party oversight throughout the research life-cycle, up to and including possible commercialization and publication.

So far, Weerdenburg has provided the study with monitoring oversight, which ensures that the rights and well-being of human subjects are protected – particularly that informed consent has been properly obtained. As well, the oversight includes ensuring that facilities are adequate to the study needs, that staff are trained and have the proper credentials, and that the research is being conducted within the approved protocol. Weerdenburg will also ensure that communication between the investigator, the ethics boards, and Health Canada is maintained.

The Research Institute provides similar services to Niagara Health, but this is the first time that a study that is not affiliated with the Research Institute has requested such oversight. While Hamilton has an integrated research ethics board – HiREB – there is currently no single body that provides research oversight and quality assurance across the city’s various health organizations.

“Since the Research Institute’s inception, we’ve become recognized as an industry leader in research administration, particularly in the areas of quality assurance and oversight,” said Weerdenburg. “With Hamilton being such an integrated city in terms of health care, we’ve attracted a lot of external interest in our capabilities. It’s an opportunity to build on something that is so integral to our own research ethos.”

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