Publisher's note: The author of this post, Morgan Tilton, is a contributor to ECU News Services.
The process of finding new ways to help patients live healthier lives may have just become a little easier for faculty in East Carolina University's College of Allied Health Sciences and College of Nursing.
The two colleges have been working together on research for years, but a new collaborative research hub promises to make the grant application and administration process more efficient, leaving faculty members more time to focus on improving patient outcomes and overall health and wellness.
The CON-CAHS Research Administration Hub, located on the university's West Campus in the Health Sciences Building, aims to maximize support for faculty members by providing the administrative components involved in pursuing grants and conducting the research funded by them? It is the first collaborative research hub on the university's health sciences campus.
From left, Susan Howard, Jessica Miller and Latoya Sahadeo will staff the new CON-CAHS Research Administration Hub. (Photo by Alyssa De Santis Figiel)
Associate Deans for Research and Scholarship Dr. Patricia Crane, from nursing, and Dr. Heather Harris Wright, from allied health, will oversee the hub along with an administrative board that includes the colleges' associate deans for research and Interim Health Sciences Assistant Vice Chancellor for Research Dr. Kathy Verbanac.
"The point of it is to capitalize on resources," Crane said at the hub's open house on May 18. "Traditionally, in each college we've had one person that did pre- and post-award (grant management),"
Crane said. "If that person was out sick or we had more than one grant, or we had multiple grants or someone was on vacation, we were just lost. We'd have to go find someone else. It was a struggle."
Creating a central hub to help faculty with administrative grant work was a perfect solution given that the two colleges have been collaborating on research efforts for years. Nursing's three-year, $2.5 million Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Program grant involves the CAHS's Physician Assistant Studies program, and the three-year, $2.1 million grant from the Versant Center for the Advancement of Nursing involves the CAHS Department of Health Sciences & Information Management.
The hub will have one pre-award grant manager and two post-award grant managers. Jessica Miller, the pre-award grant manager, will provide budget support and preparation, seek out funding opportunities and help faculty with grant application development. Post-award managers Latoya Sahadeo and Susan Howard specialize in different types of grant management and will aid faculty members once a grant has been awarded.
"All the funding agencies, while there are some commonalities, they're so vastly different in expectations and how they're administered, and the rules and regulations associated with them,"
Crane said. "This allows us to designate people that that's their area of expertise. Instead of being a generalist in everything, now we have two experts in that for post-award."
Wright agreed that the additional resource provided to faculty by the hub would be helpful as they pursue new research.
"As the funding portfolio for College of Allied Health Sciences continues to diversify and more faculty are seeking external funding to support their programmatic lines of research, increased support for pre- and post-award grant activities is needed,"
she said. "The Hub will greatly benefit faculty across both colleges. We will be able to provide more support for the faculty and allow them to focus their time and energy on their science by providing them support in identifying funding opportunities, helping with proposal development, and administrative support."