2006 Military Health Research Forum Video (Text Version)
Sean P.A. Drummond, PhD, Principal Investigator (PI), University of California, San Diego: One of the aspects of the PRMRP that I really like is that while there is an emphasis on funding studies that will most directly help the warfighter on the field, I think probably every single study will also eventually translate into improving the health of civilians. So it has this very broad based impact both on the health and well being of active duty folks as well as retired folks who are veterans and civilians alike.
William Howell, Principal Assistant for Acquisition, USAMRMC: When you come to us with your particular technology there are some things we are going to want to know right up front about it before we can adopt it into our system and into our program. Certainly, what is the indication that you are after, what is the application that you are going to use if for, and many times we find that people misjudged where our battlefield needs are, so it is very good upfront to be able to tell us what you think it is so we can have that dialog and to ensure it hits the mark or how we can adapt what you're doing so it becomes good feedback. Moreover, we need you to take sort of a long term view of where does this fit in the development plan and how are you going to develop the product. An idea about what's the regulatory pathway, how many clinical trials you're going to have to do, or different prototypings you're going to have to go through, you need to lay it out so we ourselves know how large is this product that we're going through, and therefore how much time and effort is going to be involved in it.
COL Harris: Award mechanisms are reviewed and modified yearly by an Integration Panel which is composed of members from the four military services, the Department of Defense Health Affairs and the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Health and Human Services. The Integration Panel also recommends how appropriated funds should be utilized.
Michael H. Smotrich, PhD, PI, Palomar Medical Technologies, Inc.: The PRMRP program is distinctive in that it allows the researcher a great deal of freedom to explore various avenues which, I believe, results in a more effective utilization of the talents that are out there to solve military problems.
Michael K. Riscoe, PhD, PI, Veterans Affairs Medical Center: The PRMRP management differs from other funding institutions, at least the ones that I've had to deal with, in that they are far more connected with the researcher. They are very enthusiastic about the research that we do and they share in the excitement of the discovery process. If I have a problem, I call back to my PRMRP administrative staff and they work really hard to resolve the problems or the issues of concern. I think the program has been excellent. It's been critical in my successful drug research program.
COL Harris: Proposals are solicited from the scientific community and then reviewed using a two-tiered review process. Peer-review is conducted by external scientists to determine the scientific merit, followed by the second tier, programmatic review, by the Integration Panel which ensures programmatic and military relevance.
Adriana E. Kajon, PhD, PI, Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute: This program is very open-minded and willing to support a lot of, what other agencies would describe as, very descriptive science. We are doing epidemiology, and epidemiology by definition is descriptive, however, it is a very necessary contribution to solving or approaching a problem.
Choukri Ben Mamoun, PhD, PI, University of Connecticut Health Center: This is also the only program that I know of that provides support for research not only at the initial steps of development, but also to advance the products and the technologies that have been developed during the initial steps into coming up with products and drugs that can be used directly in clinical trials and eventually for human treatment.
Babs R. Soller, PhD, PI, University of Massachusetts Medical School: It's a funding organization that understands the need for doing applied research, and it's helped us get in contact with our customers so that we can develop a product that meets not only the needs of the Army, but the needs of people in my hospital and the civilian sector as well.
Colleen B. Jonsson, PhD, PI, Southern Research Institute: One of the nice additions from this particular program is that they are having a PI meeting every year, so that is very valuable in that one gets to see all the different projects that are being worked on throughout the country and also it provides a forum to discuss how we can get to product development.
Dr. Soller: The Military Health Research Forum has been a very good opportunity for me to meet several people from different branches of the armed services and understand what their needs might be for the product that I'm developing with my research.
Anthony Guiseppi-Elie, ScD, PI, Clemson University: My interest in implantable devices and biomarkers for trauma may well be complemented by other investigators who have a more molecular, cellular approach and so the opportunity to collaborate is one that I think is given some strength by bringing us together in this forum.
Dr. Ben Mamoun: I have really bee able to benefit from many of these discussions and exchanges and I also know new investigators with whom I am starting new research collaborations, especially a number of chemists who have been funded by this program, and who will be beneficial to our success and development
Dr. Guiseppi-Elie: I know that the program would like to have a greater outreach and greater participation amongst Historically Black Colleges and Universities, for example, and one of the ways that can be done, of course, is to have investigators at major research universities such as myself and my university work with other institutions and get their investigators involved in parts of the projects.
COL Harris: Ultimately we hope to see many of our funded investigators move their research into advanced development and into products that will help support the health of our military personnel as well as their family members and the American public.
Mr. Howell: One of the most important things you can do when you start out working with the DOD is first of all finding the right point of contact, someone who's the expert in the particular area that you are looking at who can clearly evaluate and judge what you have.
Dr. Giuseppi-Elie: I think that's an attractive avenue to take, to work with the investigators early in the process to identify the potential opportunities for commercialization because that realizes a greater benefit to the military investment, particularly when the technologies are a dual-use technology.
J. Frazier Glenn, PhD, Principal Assistant for Research and Technology, USAMRMC: The military shows no pride in ownership. We'll take the solutions from anywhere that we can get them and always have.
Mr. Howell: Though we have our own in-house laboratories, we really do get a lot of products that come from out of house, so we have to build it into our program with time, but we have found, I think, that we have probably taken more items that have come out of other laboratories or out of academia than we have actually generated ourselves.
Dr. Glenn: What we think we are good at is taking those ideas and adapting them and putting them into the military environment to make a difference for the warfighters.
COL Harris: It's exciting to see the solutions that this Congressional program is providing that will benefit not only our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines , but ultimately the American people.