The Administrative Core of the MUSC Multidisciplinary Clinical Research Center (MCRC) for Rheumatic Diseases in African Americans will provide leadership for the Center and support for the pilot projects that will be funded through institutional support. The mission of the MCRC is to advance knowledge with respect to the clinical care and health outcomes of African Americans who have, or who are at risk of developing, systemic lupus erythematosus, scleroderma and other debilitating rheumatic diseases. The overarching goals of the Administrative Core are to ensure the quality and progress of the individual funded projects, foster interactions among basic, translational and clinical scientists, and facilitate the appropriate dissemination of research findings. The core will be directed by Dr. Gary S. Gilkeson (Principal Investigator) who will be responsible for overseeing ail budgetary matters of the MCRC, organizing monthly meetings of the Executive Committee, arranging for the semiannual MCRC Advisory Committee meetings, overseeing the evaluation activities, implementing the data sharing plan, and coordinating the preparation of noncompetitive renewal applications and other reports. Dr. Richard Silver will serve as the Associate Director and work closely with Dr. Gilkeson and the Administrative Core staff in managing the MCRC enterprise, ensuring program relevance and facilitating interactions among the clinical, translational and basic scientists in the Research Base. The Administrative Core staff will provide administrative support for the center, administering and monitoring the finances, coordinating meetings and action items, and interfacing with NIAMS staff and institutional personnel. The MCRC Executive Committee will ensure effective management and integration of the projects and coordinate an annual site review of the research activities by the MCRC Advisory Committee. In addition to Drs. Gilkeson and Silver, Executive Committee members will be Paul Nietert, PhD (Methodology Core PI) and James Oates, MD and Edwin Smith, MD, MPIs of the Patient Resource Core. The Administrative Core also will support educational and dissemination activities to enhance the visibility and impact of the center within MUSC and the local community and provide a forum for communicating and exchanging research ideas. The Administrative Core will nurture a vibrant, interactive program of clinical and translational research that will advance our knowledge and resources for improving the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and health outcomes for rheumatic diseases, notably systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and systemic sclerosis (SSc), which occur significantly more often and with greater severity in African Americans than in other racial and ethic groups in the United States.
The ultimate goal of the Center is to facilitate the translation of research to the clinical arena and to support much needed genetic and environmental research on rheumatic diseases affecting minorities and women disproportionately. The proposed projects and cores are focused on two autoimmune connective tissue diseases; scleroderma and lupus; each of which has profound implications for the health of the public; and each of which has a disproportionate impact on the African American community.
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