Jennifer Tornetta, (O) 609-569-7010, (C) 609-335-3446, jennifer.tornetta@atlanticare.org
Joseph Clark, Jr. (O) 609-272-6318, joseph.clarkjr@atlanticare.org

Edyta Zielinska (O) 215-955-7359, edyta.zielinska@jefferson.edu

For Immediate Release: April 18, 2018

AtlantiCare, a member of Geisinger, to exand access to clinical trials through participation in PIER Consortium


AtlantiCare, a member of Geisinger, is among regional health systems that Monday announced the founding of a nonprofit clinical research consortium. Partners in Innovation, Education, and Research (PIER) Consortium™ is a streamlined clinical trial system that will span New Jersey and Pennsylvania. 

The founding members of PIER Consortium™ include Atlantic Health System, Drexel University, Einstein Healthcare Network, Geisinger including AtlantiCare, Main Line Health and Thomas Jefferson University.

Clinical trials have traditionally been offered at academic medical centers and through affiliated hospitals to ensure patients are treated safely and effectively with the best standard of care. This can mean patients have to travel many miles, sometimes across the country, for novel treatment. The PIER Consortium™ will bring clinical trial sites to larger numbers of patients, while also bringing new treatments to market faster.

“The concept for creating a world-class, collaborative, clinical research network of regional health institutions began in 2013 with the arrival of Steve Klasko, as Jefferson’s president and chief executive officer,” said David Whellan, MD, senior associate provost for Clinical Research at Jefferson and chief operating officer of PIER. “Our vision is to advance patient care in the moment and improve quality of life and outcomes in the future.”

“We are partnering as healthcare providers with a shared goal of enhancing care for patients in the communities we serve,” said Marilouise Venditti, MD, vice president and chief medical officer, AtlantiCare. “Our work will also benefit patients across the country and around the globe. Everything we do at Geisinger is about caring. We are honored to share in this effort. This collaborative approach, which goes beyond individual institutions’ facilities and services, will be a model for the healthcare industry.”

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Photo:   Marilouise Venditti, MD, vice president and chief medical officer, AtlantiCare.

“Geisinger is already a leader in bringing research and clinical trials to our population and we are pleased to participate in this consortium to expand our research network and the opportunities for clinical trial participation for our patients,” said James Brazeal, Geisinger chief administrative research officer.

The goal of having a broad network of physician researchers is to speed up the clinical trial process and deliver effective therapies to patients sooner. “It can take decades to prove a medication or other treatment is safe and effective for a particular disease, which can be too late for many patients seeking treatment,” added Whellan.

An estimated 80 percent of clinical trials fail to finish on time.  Having contracts in place and physicians identified could allow trials to both start and reach participation capacity more quickly. The expertise shared across sites through PIER will allow clinical researchers to enroll patients in trials more quickly, and streamline the clinical trial process across institutions. This will create a more effective process for patients, trial sponsors, and researchers.

“PIER offers turn-key solutions with one contract and a single Institutional Review Board (IRB). With physician champions at each site, start-up activities will be coordinated to help each site hit the ground running,” said Whellan.

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The Partners in Innovation, Education, and Research (PIER) Consortium ™ is a regional network of healthcare organizations created to conduct cutting-edge clinical trials and foster innovation in clinical research. The focus of the network is to streamline the clinical research process, speed up clinical trials and facilitate the sharing of innovative ideas across the consortium. Founding Members include Atlantic Health System, Einstein Healthcare Network, Drexel University, Geisinger including AtlantiCare, Main Line Health, and Thomas Jefferson University.

AtlantiCare, a member of Geisinger, is an integrated system of services designed to help people achieve optimal health. It includes AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center, AtlantiCare Health Engagement, the AtlantiCare Foundation, and AtlantiCare Health Services. Its more than 5,800 employees and more than 900 physicians serve the community in nearly 90 locations. A 2009 Malcolm Baldrige Award winner, AtlantiCare was also included in Modern Healthcare’s Best Places to Work in Healthcare in 2010. ARMC became the 105th hospital in the nation to attain status as a Magnet™ designated hospital in March of 2004 and was redesignated a Magnet™ hospital in 2008 and 2013.


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