Memorial Health System and LSU Health New Orleans are embarking on a unique mission to offer lifesaving treatment options to underserved communities.
Increasing access for those who need it most
Traditionally, patients in rural communities have not been able to access clinical trials without traveling to larger facilities. In partnership with LSU Health New Orleans, Memorial Health System is the beta launch site for the Virtual Research Nurse (VRN) program. Oncologists Dr. Pamela Tuli and Dr. Sidra Khalid are the providers for the program at Memorial. With the VRN program, patients can enroll in clinical trials that offer state-of-the-art treatment.
VRN supports rural communities
How the program works:
- The VRN works remotely to screen, consent and enroll the patient, all while communicating with the patient’s provider.
- The VRN works closely with multiple disciplines to meet the needs of the trial such as lab, pathology, infusion, pharmacy and radiology.
- In addition, the VRN coordinates with the provider’s office to schedule tests, order medications, and make necessary adjustments as the trial requires.
Leading the nation
This program has received interest from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) as well as companies that provide trial-related data submission.
Dr. Tuli and Dr. Khalid are working in tandem with Dr. Augusto Ochoa, Chair, Department of Interdisciplinary Oncology Deputy Director at LSU Health New Orleans to develop this program. The goal is that one day, VRN will be utilized across the country to bring lifesaving treatment to patients whose treatment options are limited. Earlier this year, Dr. Tuli and Dr. Ochoa met with First Lady of the United States Jill Biden to discuss the program and how it can be expanded through the National Cancer Institute.
Featured photo: Rep. Delisha Boyd (D-La), Rep. Troy Carter (D-La.), Mayor Latoya Cantrell, First Lady of the United States Dr. Jill Biden, Deputy Director or LSU-LCMC Cancer Center Dr. Augusto Ochoa, LSU Health New Orleans Clinical Trials Network Manager Eileen Mederos, U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Memorial Health System Clinical Research Nurse Coordinator Jennifer Gex, Memorial Health System Oncologist Dr. Pam Tuli, Dr. Laura Cassidy, and Louisiana Cancer Research Center Director and CEO Joe Ramos, Ph.D. (Official White House Photo by Erin Scott)