ACTSI-supported Investigator & Scholar Links Vitamin D with Shorter Hospital Stays

Jenny Han, MD, MS, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine and Atlanta Clinical & Translational Science Institute (ACTSI) Master in Science in Clinical Research (MSCR) graduate, conducted a small scale clinical trial to evaluate the safety and efficacy of two doses of vitamin D3 versus a placebo in critically ill adult patients with respiratory failure. The pilot demonstrated that high doses of vitamin D3 significantly decreased the length of the hospital stay without altering infection rates or duration of ventilation.

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“Han’s finding is important especially in light of the expectations of Obamacare in terms of improving outcomes, reducing hospital length of stays, and reducing readmissions,” said Andrew West, ACTSI Sr. Center Administrator.

Han’s project received biostatistical support from ACTSI’s Biostatistics, Epidemiology, & Research Design (BERD) program. A key goal of the program is to provide value-added assistance to markedly improve the quality of the translational and clinical research of Emory, Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech), and Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM) investigators. This is accomplished by having highly trained, service oriented BERD personnel from Emory’s Rollins School of Public Health available to assist researchers in a timely manner. Rollins School of Public Health PhD student, Shuling Liu of the BERD program consulted on Han’s project by analyzing the data, interpreting the study results, and providing assistance with the statistical methods section in the resulting manuscript.

The Emory Master of Science in Clinical Research (MSCR) degree program, from the Laney Graduate School at Emory University, provides didactic and mentored clinical and translational research training. The degree is designed for participants at Emory and Georgia Tech who hold a doctorate or equivalent degree (such as physicians and PhD-level scientists) or predoctoral trainees enrolled in a dual degree program (MD/MSCR and PhD/MSCR tracks) and have demonstrated a commitment to a career in clinical investigation. MSM also has an MSCR program for MSM applicants supported through a Research Centers in Minority Institutions (RCMI) grant.

The ACTSI is a city-wide partnership between Emory, MSM, and Georgia Tech and is one of 62 in a national consortium striving to improve the way biomedical research is conducted across the country. The consortium, funded through the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) and the National Institutes of Health’s Clinical and Translational Science Awards, shares a common vision to translate laboratory discoveries into treatments for patients, engage communities in clinical research efforts, and train the next generation of clinical investigators.