NIH Clinical Center

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Growth and renewal

2004 has been a historic year for the NIH Clinical Center. Two landmark
achievements will greatly improve our ability to support state-of-the-art clinical research: the completion and dedication of our new research hospital, the Mark O. Hatfield Clinical Research Center, and the launching of our new electronic medical and clinical research information system, CRIS. Both are described more fully in the following pages, along with other important achievements. Years of planning, development, and training went into both projects, and the workload increased dramatically throughout the Clinical Center, involving and affecting every employee. But employee morale and enthusiasm remained consistently positive, reflecting a widely shared sense of growth and renewal.

As a research hospital for the nation, the Hatfield Center will provide a new chance at life for people from every state in the union. Many patients with poor prognoses — patients told they had just weeks or months to live — are alive today because of their participation in research studies at the Clinical Center. For many more patients, who will never visit the NIH, the Hatfield Center promises to be the incubator of science that will produce some of tomorrow’s greatest advances in medicine. This new facility is a wonderful gift to the American people and to the world, a gift that promises a healthier life for everyone.

Activating a clinical research hospital is an enormous undertaking; we’re lucky it happens only once every 50 years! At the same time, we were charged with doing more with less, and did so as our patient census and the intensity of service continued to increase. There were 7.6% more inpatient days and 9.4 % more outpatient visits in 2004 than in 2003. In the same period, admissions increased 2.4% and the average daily census increased 6.4%. The Clinical Center budget increased only 1.9%. While
managing limited fiscal resources, clinical and operational departments met the demand for new and increasing levels of specialized services for the support of institute research and improved patient services.

The Clinical Center also underwent organizational changes, including changes in the Clinical Center’s governance structure. Based on recommendations from the NIH Director’s Blue Ribbon Panel on the Future of Intramural Clinical Research, the Clinical Center Board of Governors became the new NIH Advisory Board for Clinical
Research. The scope of this new advisory body extends beyond the Clinical Center to the entire intramural clinical research program, the idea being to reinvigorate and integrate it.

Let me take this opportunity to recognize and thank each and every Clinical Center employee and patient volunteer. Their commitment, sustained enthusiasm, and consistent efforts to support our clinical research efforts enabled us to successfully achieve many important goals. I have every confidence that our team’s efforts and
commitment will make 2005 another successful year.

Photograph of John I. Gallin, MD
 
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