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Clemson, GHS create healthcare research powerhouse

GREENVILLE, S.C. Clemson University and Greenville Health System (GHS) will establish a healthcare research powerhouse that will fuel growth in medical research and breakthroughs, create opportunities for faculty, physicians and students and accelerate the flow of research funding into the Upstate, boosting the region's economy.

The collaboration will lead to job-creating start-up businesses in the Upstate's growing medical and bioengineering hub.

Under the landmark agreement signed June 4 by the presidents, Clemson will be the primary research collaborator for GHS and serve as the research administrator for all GHS research. This pivotal change will allow both organizations to work collectively to leverage existing administrative structures and expertise at Clemson with the clinical opportunities offered by GHS, one of the largest healthcare systems in South Carolina.

The agreement will support additional opportunities for Clemson faculty to engage in health and medical research and open the door to more federal research funding by partnering with physicians and surgeons at GHS.

"We believe this collaboration will provide additional opportunities to the increasing number of students interested in health and support faculty recruitment in biological sciences, public health, bioengineering and biomedical sciences," said Clemson President James F. Barker. "We also anticipate doubling our healthcare research funding within four years."

Clemson has worked with GHS on healthcare research projects since 1990 when a biomedical collaborative was launched.

Said GHS President and CEO Mike Riordan, "By working together, we will create a research engine that will accelerate improvements in the quality of health care and serve as an incubator of new ideas and initiatives. Simply put, we are leveraging resources in order to accomplish more than any one of us could do by ourselves. We think this innovative model will not only benefit the Upstate but could help transform the way health care is delivered nationwide."

The research will focus on applied or translational science that targets some of the nation's most-pressing healthcare needs. Early areas of focus will include:

Providing accessible and affordable health care by offering solutions ranging from telemedicine and workflow models to innovative diagnostic tools; increasing patient mobility and independence by developing rehabilitation tools for individuals with injuries and aging adults; fighting cancer by working with partners to develop innovative clinical trials, new diagnostic tools and novel treatments in conjunction with tissue banking and on-site molecular profiling available for all patients; and developing new medical devices to improve patient care and allow for discovery of new technologies and commercialization.

"This is only the beginning," promised Spence Taylor, M.D., GHS' vice president for academics and an internationally recognized vascular surgeon. "We fully believe that the synergy of researchers working with physicians, combined with the rock-strong infrastructure of Clemson, will allow us to continue to develop research initiatives that will directly improve the quality, access and cost of health care." Taylor, himself a 1979 alumnus of Clemson, is the architect of the new research affiliation.

"The cornerstone of applied research is innovation capable of making an immediate impact and of translating knowledge into practical use," said Taylor. "Over the past 60 years, as basic research has proliferated and third-party funding for applied research has dwindled, the role of knowledge translation to practical use has largely been relegated to private industry.

"Through our academic medical center approach, we can harness the best of both worlds," said Taylor.


Contact: Brian Mullen
Clemson University

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