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Take Research Beyond the Ivory Tower

Research at Johns Hopkins is a massive enterprise supported by physicians, nurses, pharmacists, technologists, coordinators and many others. We also are enriched by myriad research resources at the School of Medicine, School of Nursing and Bloomberg School of Public Health.

We’re very fortunate: This academic ecosystem for research doesn’t exist at many other places in the world.

Our research assets were a draw when Saudi Aramco chose Johns Hopkins as its partner to improve clinical care for its employees and their families. From the beginning of the Johns Hopkins Aramco Healthcare joint venture, we sought to leverage our institution’s 125+ years of experience in scientific investigation to enhance JHAH’s research capacity.

Medical research takes on many forms, ranging from basic experiments on a laboratory benchtop to clinical trials of novel therapies. In today’s medical environment, there is big push to use research to characterize unique patient populations to develop specially tailored treatment approaches, often called “precision medicine.” Using research in this way will help us deliver the right treatment to the right patient.

Before we can know what the “right treatment” for the “right patient” is, though, we must know more about the patients themselves. And then we have to develop and track outcome metrics so we can tailor patients’ treatments to improve their health for the long term.

At Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, outcomes analysis helps us to achieve ever-greater levels of quality in the care we give our patients. As JHAH implements new and novel care programs, outcomes research will similarly provide critical data to inform decisions for individual patients and for the health system as a whole.

We have collaborated with JHAH leadership to define and develop select educational courses tailored to the needs of JHAH staff from all disciplines and roles. We are strengthening the existing research infrastructure at JHAH to develop and grow a robust research program.

Dr. Pete Miller, from the Institute for Clinical and Translational Research at Johns Hopkins, assembled a team of investigator-educators and tailored a curriculum focused on the fundamentals of medical research. The course combined classroom teaching with small group discussions, delivered at JHAH.

The course was also practical—participants created and refined research proposals that they could then put into practice. I look forward to sharing with you this next part of the story: how these initial proposals grew into real projects the researchers shared at JHAH’s inaugural Research Day.


Brian Matlaga

Dr. Brian Matlaga is the Stephens Professor of Urology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and serves as the director of ambulatory care for the James Buchanan Brady Urological Institute as well as the regional director of community urology for Johns Hopkins. Dr. Matlaga has worked with Johns Hopkins Medicine International in a number of capacities, most recently with Johns Hopkins Aramco Healthcare.

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