October 11, 2010

Bloomberg School of Public Health receives $38.6 mill for orthopedic trauma research

The Center for Injury Research and Policy at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health has been awarded $38.6 million by the Peer Reviewed Orthopaedic Research Program of the U.S. Department of Defense to expand its Major Extremity Trauma Research Consortium. METRC, which was established in September 2009 with a Defense Department award of $18 million, conducts multicenter studies relevant to the treatment and outcomes of major orthopedic injuries sustained on the battlefield. The additional funding allows for growth both in the size of the consortium and in the scope of its research.

“The initial funding was critical to establishing the consortium and providing the resources to address some of the immediate research needs of the military in the acute management of severe limb injuries,” said principal investigator Ellen MacKenzie, the Fred and Julie Soper Professor and chair of the Bloomberg School’s Department of Health Policy and Management, in which the Center for Injury Research and Policy is housed. “With the additional funding, we will be able to expand the size of the consortium to address many other priority topics of relevance to both the rehabilitation and treatment of the wounded warrior, including the prevention of bone infection, chronic pain and overall disability.”

The Bloomberg School serves as the coordinating center for the consortium, which includes a network of core civilian trauma centers working with the major military medical centers that provide treatment to service members who sustain major trauma while on active duty. Under this new award, the number of core civilian centers will increase from 12 to 24. An additional 30 satellite trauma centers around the country have pledged support for the consortium, saying they are eager to participate in studies sponsored under its umbrella.

“Increasing the number of centers allows for more efficient designs and increased generalizability of the studies we conduct,” said Michael Bosse, of Carolinas Medical Center, chair of the consortium and co–principal investigator with MacKenzie. “In this way, we will be in an even better position to deliver on our goal of establishing treatment guidelines for the optimal care of the wounded warrior and improve the outcomes of both service members and civilians who sustain serious injury to the extremities.”

“The need for such a consortium is evident,” said Renan Castillo, an assistant professor in the Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy and deputy director of the METRC Coordinating Center.  “Eighty-two percent of all service members injured in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom sustain significant extremity trauma. Many are burdened with injuries to multiple limbs. The research conducted by the consortium will help us better understand what works and what doesn’t in treating these injuries and ensure that our service members are provided with the best care possible.”

“We are thrilled to be partnering with Drs. MacKenzie and Bosse and the incredible team of investigators they have assembled,” said Joseph Wenke, of the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, and program manager for the consortium.  “Together we will address the most pressing issues in orthopedic trauma care. The results of our studies are likely to change practices,” he said.

Other Johns Hopkins faculty providing leadership to the consortium are Daniel Scharfstein, a professor in the Department of Biostatistics, and Gregory Delissovoy, an adjunct associate professor in Health Policy and Management.

For more information on the Major Extremity Trauma Research Consortium, go to www.metrc.org.