GHUCCTS Programs & Resources

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Research Participant Recruitment Support & Multi-site Study Support

Learn more about Research Participant Recruitment Support & Multi-site Study Support.

  • What's It All About

    Multiple barriers delay both the activation and the completion of multi-center clinical trials. In partnership with the Trial Innovation Network, a network created to leverage the expertise and resources of the CTSA program, our goal is to enhance the speed and efficiency of multi-site clinical trials across all GHUCCTS institutions.

    We provide the following support:

    Research Participant Recruitment Support

    As the liaison to the national Recruitment Innovation Center, funded by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, we provide a variety of services to research teams in need of support to recruit participants. The core offers consultations with experienced bioinformaticists, research nurses, community engagement specialists, and recruitment coordinators. | Learn More

    Services include developing recruitment plans, reducing cost and creating timelines. Depending on the needs of the research team and the study’s target, the Recruitment Core can provide assistance with digital advertising including paid targeted social media advertising, grassroots recruitment in the community, the development and distribution of ‘Dear Provider’ and/or ‘Dear Participant' letters, and graphic design services including web page development through The core has also established a Participant Advisory Board, available to researchers who value involving current and past research participants in their proposal development. | Learn More

    Multi-site Study Support

    As the liaison to the national Trial Innovation Center, funded by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, we provide support to investigators conducting multi-centered trials. This includes connecting investigators to the Trial Innovation Center, which leverages the expertise and resources of the CTSA Program. For example, connecting the central IRBs at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, The University of Utah, and Vanderbilt Medical Center promotes faster, more consistent IRB determinations for multi-site studies. Additionally, the core provides access to an experienced IRB Director who can provide assistance to investigators submitting to the Trial Innovation Central IRB and Contract Facilitators who provide support during the start up phase for both single site and multi-site studies, including IRB and contract facilitation.

    Trial Innovation Network

    The Georgetown-Howard Universities Center for Clinical and Translational Science (GHUCCTS) is excited to be part of the newly established NIH Trial Innovation Network and we would like our institutional investigators to take advantage of this unique opportunity. There are two ways that you can participate: (1) you may propose a multi-site clinical trial as a GHUCCTS investigator to leverage the resources of the nation-wide Trial Innovation Network, or, (2) you can be considered to be a site investigator for a multi-site clinical trial sponsored by the Trial Innovation Network. | Learn More

  • Who is Responsible

    Headshot of Dr. Neil WeissmanDirector, Multi-site Study Support Unit : Neil J. Weissman, MD, FACC, FASE

    Dr. Weissman is the Chief Scientific Officer for MedStar Health, President of MedStar Health Research Institute, and Professor of Medicine at Georgetown University School of Medicine.

    Dr. Weissman's research interests include valvular heart disease, left ventricular remodeling and intravascular imaging. His Cardiovascular Core Laboratories have provided services for more than 150 multicenter trials, including multiple studies on the effects of medications on valvular and ventricular function, prosthetic valve assessments and intracoronary therapies.

    Show more

    Dawn Fishbein, MD  headshotDirector, Research Participant Recruitment Unit & Trial Innovation Network : Dawn Fishbein, MD

    Dr. Fishbein is an Infectious Diseases Specialist with a particular interest in viral hepatitis and chronic hepatitis C in minority, underserved populations. Dr. Fishbein joined the MedStar Washington Hospital Center Infectious Diseases faculty in July 2012, creating a new program in hepatitis C clinical care and health services research.

    Prior to this position, she served as the Medical Director of a newly created partnership between NIH and the District of Columbia, and was responsible for developing on-site integrated viral hepatitis clinics in DC. The primary goal was to provide hepatitis C clinical care and establish research protocols. Prior to moving to Washington, DC she was faculty at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, where she implemented an HIV-hepatitis clinic and had a NIH K23 award for assessing engagement in care for hepatitis C patients. Her current funding is for Health Services research from CDC and industry grants for hepatitis C testing, linkage and navigation into care. She has served as a stakeholder for PCORI and for the HHS Viral Hepatitis Action Plan.

    Emily Paku headshotProgram Manager : Emily Paku

    Emily Paku oversees programmatic elements of the Recruitment Unit and Multisite Study Support Unit of Georgetown-Howard Universities Center for Clinical and Translational Science. She manages overall programmatic and operational responsibilities of the project including contractual and regulatory obligations, data management and analysis support, coordination and completion of project within timeline, budget and scope. 

    She oversee site staff setting deadlines, assigning responsibilities and coordinating with departments within the MedStar Health system to ensure synergy. She ensures that advice and directions provided by the GHUCCTS Participant Advisory Board are integrated based on feasibility and alignment with the the GHUCCTS and MHRI’s overall business strategy. 

    Project Leads

    Alice Ukaegbu DNP, MSN, FNP-BC Alice Ukaegbu has over 25 years of nursing experience and eight years of this in managing and conducting clinical research. She assists both experienced and new investigators at HU navigate clinical trials start-up from contracts, budgets and sponsor communications. She has successfully assisted in recruiting for multi-center sickle cell and Alzheimer’s studies and works with the GHUCCTS investigators to assist them in their recruitment efforts.

    Alice completed her baccalaureate degree in nursing and master’s education with a Family Nurse Practitioner at Howard University. She received her Doctorate in Nursing Practice from Chatham University. Alice's interest is in clinical practice and clinical research.

    Lead, IRB Support

    Kristen Katopol Kristen Katopol is the Director of the Human Subject Protection Program at Georgetown University, providing chief administrative and programmatic support for Georgetown’s Institutional Review Boards (IRBs), assuming responsibility for the oversight of all biomedical, social and behavioral research involving human subjects. Ms. Katopol supervises the ethical and technical review of proposals requiring IRB review and she provides consultation, assistance and information regarding the review process to the research community, as well as to staff and students on all campuses. Ms. Katopol possesses nearly 20 years of experience in the field of protecting human subjects in research. Prior to her position at Georgetown University, she served as site manager and Human Subjects Protection Scientist at Ft. Detrick, where she managed a large Department of Defense research portfolio, supervised a team of Human Subject Protection Scientists and worked to solve complex issues surrounding human subject protocols and regulations. Prior to her work with the DOD, Ms. Katopol was the IRB administrator for the St. Joseph Mercy Health System in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

    Additional Team Members

    • Stephen Fernandez, MS (MHRI)
    • Finie Richardson, MPH (HU)
    • Chad League (MHRI)
    • Yejide Obisesan (HU)
    • Tolu Ijayekunle (WDCVAMC)
  • Tell Me More

    Recruitment Support

    We provide clinical trial recruitment services to researchers at Georgetown University, Howard University, MedStar Health and the Washington DC Veterans Affair Medical Center. Our experts range from bioinformaticists to experienced research nurses who provide tailored recommendations on recruitment strategies to employ to reach participants from various communities. We provide one hour consultation services to research teams, which includes experienced clinical research nurses, outreach coordinators, bioinformaticists and research participant advocates, to discuss study specific, value-added recruitment strategies. Recruitment plans are provided after the session. Complete our service request form to schedule a consultation, today! If you don't know where to start, schedule a 30min pre-consultation with the center or email us to determine your next steps.

    GHUCCTS participates in many community events in an effort to to raise clinical research awareness and to support investigators with recruitment. | GHUCCTS in the Community

    Multi-site Study Support

    Our number one goal is to help investigators implement their multi-site study as quickly as possible. How? After years of planning and strategizing with contract offices at Georgetown University, Howard University, MedStar Health Research Institute and the Washington VA Medical Center, we’ve established a collaborative infrastructure to help implement multi-site contracts and quickly as possible. We have contract facilitators, one at each institutions, who know their contracting environment, are aware of potential barriers and can help facilitate start up. Essentially, they know the right people and the resources we have in place to get the job done. Contact us today to learn more!

    Trial Innovation Network

    The network, funded by NIH National Center for Advancing Translational Science (NCATS), is a new collaborative initiative of the NIH Clinical Translational Science Award (CTSA) Program. The network will leverage the expertise, skills and knowledge of NCATS and the CTSA participants to provide consultation and resources for multi-site clinical trials. 

    Resources offered through the Trial Innovation Network to CTSA sites (like GHUCCTS) include a central IRB, streamlined support for protocol development, harmonized IT tools for recruitment, and systematic approaches to community engagement, recruitment and retention.

    We would really like to hear from you if you are interested in being part of this clinical trial network opportunity. You can let us know your interest by contacting one of the GHUCCTS leaders from your respective institutions and/or fill out this form. We will be happy to answer any of your questions.

    Please visit to learn more about this new program and how you and your research program can potentially benefit from it.

  • Resources

    To schedule a consultation, visit

    To learn more about the Trial Innovation Network visit .

    Do you value including the patient perspective in your study design and recruitment materials? Find out what we can offer through the Participant Advisory Board.

    Did you know we have a clinical trial listing site for studies conducted at our GHUCCTS institutions? Visit to search for your study today. You can put your study’s weblink on recruitment materials or even better: contact us to see how we create a custom design landing page for you, today!

    Are you in the process of proposing a multi-site clinical trial? Contact us today to learn more about the single IRB services offered through the Trial Innovation Network, today!

    Hear from CTSA Program experts on various trial-related topics to improve your project.