WRNMMC’s reputation for excellence is reflected in the superior ratings we consistently receive from the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO), which evaluates and accredits over 17,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States.
Many of our health care services are world-renowned, such as those provided in Obstetrics, Neonatal Intensive Care, and our Mother and Infant Care Center. In addition, a number of WRNMMC specialties have been designated “Centers of Excellence” such as Breast Care, Cardiac Care, Surgery, Cranial and Spinal Surgery, Head and Neck Oncology, Neonatal and Perinatal Medicine, and Total Joint Replacement.
Department of Research Programs Accredited
The Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Programs (AAHRPP) awarded accreditation to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC), Department of Research Programs (DRP), Bethesda, Maryland. The DRP oversees all WRNMMC research. It joins the 59th Medical Wing, Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland in Texas as U.S. Department of Defense facilities that have attained AAHRPP accreditation.
AAHRPP is a nonprofit organization that provides accreditation for organizations that conduct or review human research and can demonstrate they have built extensive safeguards into every level of their research operation, adhere to high standards for research, and exceed the safeguards required by the U.S. government.
Medical Research Rewarded
WRNMMC promotes the professional growth and development of our doctors-in-training in our Graduate Medical Education (GME) programs, by performing high-quality research and clinical trials in conjunction with some of the world's finest medical centers.
Clinical trials usually compare a new, promising treatment to a standard one; and contribute to a better understanding of the benefits and risks of comparative therapies. These trials are helpful in determining if a treatment is better, as good, or not as good as a standard therapy. All research procedures must be approved and monitored by WRNMMC and the relevant Institutional Review Boards (IRB) to ensure patient safety.
Current or recent research efforts at WRNMMC have been conducted in the areas of colon cancer, breast cancer, investigational chemotherapy, virtual colonoscopy, stroke, diabetes, infectious disease, hematology/oncology, leukemia and lymphoma.
Hematology / Oncology
WRNMMC's Hematology/Oncology service offers research protocol treatment options as well as standard treatment options to active duty, retired, and civilian patients in conjunction with the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The research oncology unit is highly patient-focused with direct nursing care during complex treatment regimens. Currently, research studies are ongoing in the area of leukemia and lymphoma, and exciting new treatments are in development.
WRNMMC, in conjunction with the National Cancer Institute (NCI), is conducting several large ongoing studies to decide the best therapy options for women newly diagnosed with breast cancer. These studies include prescribed chemotherapy drugs and hormone replacement therapy, with comparisons to attacking the cancer without using these drugs. More than 50 people have participated in breast care trials, which started in 1997.
The Clinical Stroke Unit at WRNMMC is engaged in cutting-edge research to identify genetic and other factors that increase the risk of stroke. The congressional funded Comprehensive Neuroscience Program and the National Institutes of Health support research in the Clinical Stroke Unit. By identifying genes that increase the susceptibility for stroke, WRNMMC hopes to design new strategies for stroke prevention, acute management, and rehabilitation that will dramatically remove the burden of this debilitating disease from our patients.
Diabetes Disease Management Program
The Tri-Service Nursing Research Group funded a current study using a sample of 150 subjects (IRB approved) to follow the outcomes of glycemic control, risk factor modification, adherence to guidelines of care, and patients' perception of care, using the comparison of the efficacy of (Diabetes Case Management Care vs. "Usual Care").
Infectious Disease Special Immunology (IDSI)
The IDSI has an active research program that includes new treatment protocols, natural history and behavioral studies. Many of the research protocols are partnerships between WRNMMC and National Institutes of Health, or Department of Defense retrovirology studies, and are for HIV-infected patients who live in the Bethesda area.
In May 2003, CAPT Brian Monahan, MC, of WRNMMC was presented with the 18th Annual Clinical Investigation Program Award for his project entitled, A Pilot Study of Oxaliplatin and Capecitibine in Adult Patients with Refractory Solid Tumors. The three-year project tested the effectiveness of an anti-cancer drug on 100 patients with colon cancer. Various departments including Radiology, Laboratory and Pathology were involved. These departments assisted in collecting test specimens from patients through procedures such as biopsies, bone marrow sampling, and Computerized Axial Tomography (CAT) scans. WRNMMC is the first hospital in the country to conduct this type of study, which was done in conjunction with the National Cancer Institute (NCI).
Landmark Research for Virtual Colonoscopy
The findings of a joint landmark study involving a new colon cancer screening test conducted at WRNMMC were published in the Dec. 4, 2003 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine. Virtual colonoscopy (VC) is the latest technology for detecting polyps. VC uses special X-ray equipment and computerized virtual reality software to create a 3-D image of the colon. VC is much less invasive than conventional colonoscopy because it does not require an endoscope or tube in the colon. VC also requires no sedation, anesthesia, or hospital stay. This joint study was also conducted at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC, and the Naval Medicine Center San Diego. The successful research project resulted in a congressional funded grant to build a Colon Cancer Center at WRNMMC. Once the construction of the Center is complete, WRNMMC will shift to VC as the primary means for colon cancer screening.