“I saw your feature on the research you’re doing. I realize it’s preliminary, but is there any additional information you could send me?”
I’m always surprised how many people contact us about ongoing research projects. Folks with chronic conditions or their family members tend to search the Web for new information about potential treatments. At times I’ve received over 200 e-mails in response to a single news release or story. Many ask when a project will transition from basic or applied research studies into a clinical trial. They want to participate if possible, but many simply want to know more about the research process.
What’s significant to me is that Mayo Clinic is the type of institution that can actually tell them – often within months – when a project will be moving to the next phase. Why? It’s because our researchers work together, often from the very beginning, to speed the process along. I used to work for a couple of research centers – one public, one private – where investigators had no idea when the next step would occur or if it would happen at all.
At Mayo, research articles published in medical journals usually bear the names of basic scientists and clinician investigators, not to mention biostatisticians, technicians and many others. That’s indicative of the team approach to medical science. The effort rarely comes to a halt, but keeps moving expeditiously. That’s in part because it happens under “one roof” even though that roof may cover any or all of our campuses in Arizona, Florida and Minnesota.
Lab researchers are very mindful that the outcomes of their work may save lives. All they have to do is look out the window or walk through the hallways to see some of the 3,000 patients a week who show up looking for answers. Patients tend to understand that Mayo conducts wide-ranging research and that it underpins the increased value in expertise, diagnosis and care that they find here.
Editor's Note: Bob Nellis is a senior consultant in research communications at Mayo Clinic.