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National Institutes of Health awards MaineHealth $12.8M

February 16, 2021

PORTLAND, MaineMaineHealth has been awarded a five-year, $12.8 million Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) grant by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health. The funding will be used by the Maine Medical Center Research Institute (MMCRI) to support clinical research aimed at reducing rural health disparities in acute care settings.

“This grant will not only help establish the infrastructure necessary to better serve rural communities, it will support MaineHealth engagement with community members to understand their needs, and how best to focus future research,” said Doug Sawyer, MD, Ph.D., Chief Academic Officer of Maine Medical Center and MaineHealth and the Principal Investigator of this grant. “When research works hand in glove with community needs and patient care, we impact health.”

The funding will be used to develop a statewide research and care network in Maine that addresses barriers associated with limited resources, expertise and access in rural areas and will begin with the support of four clinical studies. Teresa May, DO, MS, will examine whether MaineHealth can improve rural patient outcomes after cardiac arrest by creating a standard best practice protocol for care. David Gagnon, PharmD, will study whether giving patients the antibiotic ceftriaxone after cardiac arrest will help improve outcomes after resuscitation. David Seder, MD, is leading a study looking into how the types of white blood cells patients have in their bloodstream after cardiac arrest may impact their recovery. Finally, Alexa Craig, MD, MS, will continue her telemedicine research that supports rural hospitals in the rapid recognition of newborns who need treatment with therapeutic hypothermia to protect the brain. Dr. Craig also will study whether telemedicine is an effective way of gaining the consent of the parents of these newborns for research and clinical care.

Frank Chessa, Ph.D., Richard Riker, MD, and Neil Korsen, MD, MSc will oversee community engagement in clinical research, as well as research training for clinicians across MaineHealth.

“This program builds upon our exceptional clinical experience and strong basic and translational research programs to focus on the challenge of increasing access to high-quality acute care in rural Maine.” said MMCRI Vice President for Research Elizabeth Jacobs, MD. “It is a unique opportunity for these promising clinician researchers and for our state.”

The COBRE will allow each of these investigators to receive mentoring and logistical support for their projects. Project leaders also will be connecting with community members to better understand the health care challenges they face so they may be addressed in future studies.

Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number P20GM139745. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

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About Maine Medical Center
Maine Medical Center (MMC), recognized as a Best Regional Hospital by U.S. News and World Report for 2020-2021, is a complete health care resource for the people of Greater Portland and the entire state, as well as northern New England. Incorporated in 1868, MMC is the state’s largest medical center, licensed for 637 beds and employing more than 9,600 people. MMC's unique role as both a community hospital and a referral center requires an unparalleled depth and breadth of services, including an active educational program and a world-class biomedical research center. As a nonprofit institution, Maine Medical Center provides nearly 23 percent of all the charity care delivered in Maine. MMC is part of the MaineHealth system, a growing family of health care services in northern New England. For more information, visit www.mmc.org.

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