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    Perfect Match: FAU and Memorial Healthcare System Establish Research Partnership

    South Florida giants in higher education and healthcare have joined forces to form an alliance that will advance clinical research and clinical trials in the region. Florida Atlantic University and Memorial Healthcare System in Broward County have formed a “Research Partnership to Advance Clinical Trials” (Research PACT), which combines their expertise and resources in clinical research, clinical trials, basic research and translational biomedical research. Its mission: to develop state-of-the-art research tools and discover new knowledge to benefit patients and lead advances in patient care. 

    “Florida Atlantic University’s Board of Trustees and all of us at the University are very excited to collaborate on this important initiative with Memorial Healthcare System. Together, we will propel the development and delivery of potential breakthrough discoveries in treatments and technologies that will benefit this region’s diverse patient population,” said FAU President John Kelly. “FAU and Memorial Healthcare System share similar goals, as well as values and culture in research excellence and serve the same communities, which make this partnership a perfect match.”

    The new research affiliation brings together the scientific expertise of FAU researchers and the clinical expertise of Memorial physicians. The coordinated effort also will leverage the two organizations’ state-of-the-art facilities, as well as proficiency in various areas from cancer to cardiology and biomedical engineering to big data analytics and artificial intelligence.

    “The Memorial and FAU research affiliation will usher an era of innovation in South Florida’s healthcare industry that will greatly impact our community and the lives of many patients for years to come,” said Aurelio M. Fernandez, III, president and CEO of Memorial Healthcare System. “Through thoughtful and purposeful research, we will be pioneers on many fronts while also advancing scientific knowledge.”

    FAU and Memorial will work to develop new drugs, medical devices, software applications, and other novel treatments for diseases and disorders that affect both children and adults. The scope of the agreement, limited to research and research-related education, is designed to enable clinicians and researchers from each institution to more effectively collaborate with their peers and access available resources at each partner institution. The goal of the partnership is to facilitate expanded clinical trials research activity involving both FAU and Memorial researchers. The partnership will involve a multi-disciplinary approach, attracting faculty across FAU’s 10 colleges and will include nurses, social workers and other allied health specialists.

    “Our partnership with Memorial Healthcare System is a ‘win-win.’ Memorial Healthcare System has a robust patient population and more than 130 clinicians who participate in more than 150 open clinical trials and clinical research studies, which are supported with a strong research infrastructure,” said Daniel C. Flynn, Ph.D., FAU vice president for research. “We have complementary research infrastructures and research expertise that span a multitude of disciplines from neuroscience to business to computer science and engineering, which are mutually advantageous for our joint research efforts.”

    FAU has a robust culture of research and inquiry, which leverages regional assets, such as the ocean, patient populations, and culture and business, to advance scientific understanding, discover new technologies, and contribute to the economic vitality of the region. FAU has established research pillars focused on institutional strengths: the Institute for Human Health and Disease Intervention (I-HEALTH); the Brain Institute (I-BRAIN); the Institute for Sensing and Embedded Network Systems Engineering (I-SENSE); and ocean science and engineering/environmental sciences, FAU’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute.

    Memorial Regional Hospital, the flagship facility of Memorial Healthcare System and one of the largest hospitals in Florida, Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital and Memorial Hospital West are located in Broward and offer a variety of medical and surgical services with related clinical trials. Memorial’s comprehensive clinical research infrastructure offers patients the opportunity to participate in innovative research studies, including many treatments that would otherwise not be available locally. Among the many trials being conducted at Memorial include COVID-19, adult and pediatric oncology, adult and pediatric cardiology, stroke, cystic fibrosis, multiple sclerosis, and sickle cell.

    “Memorial Healthcare System is a major Public Academic and Research Clinical Enterprise and this partnership will allow all patients in our communities to receive and benefit from the highest caliber cutting- edge therapies available,” said Candice Sareli, M.D., chief medical research officer for Memorial Healthcare System. “Memorial’s clinicians and scientists are pleased to be able to work alongside basic science researchers and the full complement of academic scholars at FAU to enable this community opportunity.”

    FAU and Memorial will engage in joint intellectual property and technology transfer, joint training, and collaborative research projects and programs to include bench-to-bedside research for both drugs and devices. Areas of mutual research interest include cancer – FAU and Memorial researchers have already submitted joint research grant proposals. There also will be opportunities to collaborate on research projects in Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias as well as various diseases that affect cognitive impairment.

  • Employees wearing masks celebrating

    Memorial Healthcare System recognized in Modern Healthcare’s Best Places to Work for 2020

    Memorial Healthcare System has been selected by Modern Healthcare as one of the 2020 Best Places to Work in Healthcare, a national recognition that identifies outstanding employers in the healthcare industry. Memorial ranked highest in Florida and is the only healthcare system in South Florida to receive this recognition in 2020.

    “We are honored to be recognized in Modern Healthcare’s Best Places to Work for over a decade,” said Aurelio M. Fernandez, III, FACHE, president and CEO, Memorial Healthcare System. “Even with the unprecedented challenges brought on by COVID-19, our resilient, committed healthcare professionals never wavered, and have shown that together we can take care of each other and our community, no matter the unprecedented circumstances.”

    “It has been an especially trying year for the world, and healthcare in particular as COVID-19 ravages our communities and your workplaces,” said Aurora Aguilar, Modern Healthcare's editor. “But the organizations recognized on this year's list rose to the top and continued to be a source of strength for their teammates. We congratulate the Best Places to Work in Healthcare for continuing to serve their workforce and communities during such an unprecedented time.”

    Modern Healthcare partners with the Best Companies Group on the assessment process, which includes an extensive employee survey, soliciting employee feedback on overall satisfaction, organizational leadership, corporate culture and diversity, work environment and more.

    Visit Memorial Careers to view the latest job openings or view our latest annual reports to the community.

  • Dr. Cortelli with patient

    Memorial Cardiac & Vascular Institute Earns Highest Rating from Society of Thoracic Surgeons

    The Memorial Cardiac & Vascular Institute (MCVI) has earned three-star ratings for patient care and outcomes from the Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) in both isolated aortic valve replacement (AVR) surgery and isolated coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG). The designation, which recognizes the highest category of quality, places Memorial among the elite heart surgery programs in the United States and Canada.

    Historically, fewer than 10% of cardiothoracic surgical programs earn three stars from STS, a nonprofit organization that represents more than 7,300 surgeons, researchers, and allied healthcare professionals worldwide. Its highly-regarded rating system uses data from benchmarked outcomes and is calculated by combining numerous measurements of quality for specific procedures performed by cardiothoracic surgery programs in its database.

    MCVI has received consistently high ratings in the annual survey for more than 10 years. The current three-star designation in isolated AVR includes outcomes from a three-year period (January 2017-December 2019). The isolated CABG rating is for quality results in 2019 only. “The high-quality outcomes necessary to achieve this rating are a testament to the collaborative efforts of the entire cardiac surgery team,” said Dr. Michael Cortelli, chief of the Memorial Cardiac and Vascular Institute (MCVI).

    MCVI was the first facility in Broward County to offer heart transplantation services for adults and features a multi-disciplinary approach to total heart care that has delivered South Floridians outcomes that compare to the best in the U.S.

    “The Society of Thoracic Surgeons congratulates national database participants who have received three-star ratings,” said David M. Shahian, MD, chair of the Task Force on Quality Measurement. “Participation in the database and public reporting demonstrates a commitment to quality improvement in healthcare delivery and helps provide patients and their families with meaningful information to help them make informed decisions about healthcare.”