News Release

PHILADELPHIA – A large-scale, clinical research project on vasculitis, led by Peter A. Merkel, MD, MPH, a professor of Medicine and Epidemiology and chief of the division of Rheumatology at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, and George Casey, MBA, Vice President of the Vasculitis Foundation, has been approved to receive a three-year, $1.4 million award by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), as part of the second phase of the National Patient-Centered Clinical Research Network (PCORnet).

The funds will continue to support the Vasculitis Patient-Powered Research Network (V-PPRN) in its efforts to develop and expand a health data network for patients and researchers, as well as conduct high-quality studies that lead to improving the care and the health of patients with vasculitis.

Vasculitis is a set of rare organ- and life-threatening diseases of vascular inflammation.

The new funding will allow the V-PPRN to continue transforming how clinical research in vasculitis is conducted by directly engaging patients, investigators, care providers, and health systems to develop research methods to electronically collect health records and patient-reported data on a large number of patients with various forms of vasculitis.

“This award is an outstanding achievement for the V-PPRN and will not only provide funds to help us expand our research and have a greater impact on the lives of patients with vasculitis, but also is a testament to the highly productive collaboration that exists between our physician-investigators and our patient-partners,” Merkel said.

This funding continues PCORI’s support for the V-PPRN's participation in PCORnet, a large, collaborative research initiative designed to link researchers, patient communities, clinicians, and health systems in productive research partnerships that leverage the power of large volumes of health data maintained by the partner networks.  

PCORnet will enable the nation to conduct clinical research more quickly and less expensively than is now possible and will ensure that research focuses on the questions and outcomes that matter most to patients and those who care for them.  The V-PPRN contributes to PCORnet expertise and resources focused on research in vasculitis, a set of rare inflammatory diseases of blood vessels.

PCORI is an independent, non-profit organization authorized by Congress in 2010 to fund research that will provide patients, their caregivers and clinicians with the evidence-based information they need to make better-informed healthcare decisions.  

“We're pleased that the V-PPRN has been approved for this funding support to continue our productive mutual efforts to build what we intend to be a premier national resource for conducting high-quality, patient-centered clinical research," said PCORI Executive Director Joe Selby, MD, MPH.  “I greatly appreciate the contributions of all the PCORnet partners during phase I, which readied PCORnet for a robust start on an exciting second phase of expansion and the launch of several research studies."

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Penn Medicine is one of the world's leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. Penn Medicine consists of the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (founded in 1765 as the nation's first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which together form a $4.3 billion enterprise.

The Perelman School of Medicine has been ranked among the top five medical schools in the United States for the past 17 years, according to U.S. News & World Report's survey of research-oriented medical schools. The School is consistently among the nation's top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $392 million awarded in the 2013 fiscal year.

The University of Pennsylvania Health System's patient care facilities include: The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania -- recognized as one of the nation's top "Honor Roll" hospitals by U.S. News & World Report; Penn Presbyterian Medical Center; Chester County Hospital; Lancaster General Health; Penn Wissahickon Hospice; and Pennsylvania Hospital -- the nation's first hospital, founded in 1751. Additional affiliated inpatient care facilities and services throughout the Philadelphia region include Chestnut Hill Hospital and Good Shepherd Penn Partners, a partnership between Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network and Penn Medicine.

Penn Medicine is committed to improving lives and health through a variety of community-based programs and activities. In fiscal year 2013, Penn Medicine provided $814 million to benefit our community.

Penn Medicine is one of the world’s leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. Penn Medicine consists of the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (founded in 1765 as the nation's first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which together form a $7.8 billion enterprise.

The Perelman School of Medicine has been ranked among the top medical schools in the United States for more than 20 years, according to U.S. News & World Report’s survey of research-oriented medical schools. The School is consistently among the nation’s top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $405 million awarded in the 2017 fiscal year.

The University of Pennsylvania Health System’s patient care facilities include: The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center — which are recognized as one of the nation’s top “Honor Roll” hospitals by U.S. News & World Report — Chester County Hospital; Lancaster General Health; Penn Medicine Princeton Health; Penn Wissahickon Hospice; and Pennsylvania Hospital – the nation’s first hospital, founded in 1751. Additional affiliated inpatient care facilities and services throughout the Philadelphia region include Good Shepherd Penn Partners, a partnership between Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network and Penn Medicine, and Princeton House Behavioral Health, a leading provider of highly skilled and compassionate behavioral healthcare.

Penn Medicine is committed to improving lives and health through a variety of community-based programs and activities. In fiscal year 2017, Penn Medicine provided $500 million to benefit our community.

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