Few interdisciplinary research groups include basic scientists, pharmacists, therapists, nutritionists, laboratory technicians, as well as trauma patients and families, in addition to clinicians. Increasing interprofessional diversity within scientific teams working to improve trauma care is a goal of national organizations and federal funding agencies such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This article describes the design, implementation, and outcomes of a Trauma Interdisciplinary Group for Research (TIGR) at a Level 1 trauma center as it relates to increasing research productivity, with specific examples excerpted from an ongoing NIH-funded study.METHODS
We used a pretest/posttest design with objectives aimed at measuring increases in research productivity following a targeted intervention. A SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis was used to develop the intervention, which included research skill-building activities, accomplished by adding multidisciplinary investigators to an existing NIH-funded project. The NIH project aimed to test the hypothesis that accelerated biologic aging from chronic stress increases baseline inflammation and reduces inflammatory response to trauma (projected n = 150). Pre-TIGR/post-TIGR data related to participant screening, recruitment, consent, and research processes were compared. Research productivity was measured through abstracts, publications, and investigator-initiated projects.RESULTS
Research products increased from 12 to 42 (approximately 400%). Research proposals for federal funding increased from 0 to 3, with success rate of 66%. Participant screenings for the NIH-funded study increased from 40 to 313. Consents increased from 14 to 70. Laboratory service fees were reduced from $300 per participant to $5 per participant.CONCLUSION
Adding diversity to our scientific team via TIGR was exponentially successful in (1) improving research productivity, (2) reducing research costs, and (3) increasing research products and mentoring activities that the team before TIGR had not entertained. The team is now well positioned to apply for more federally funded projects, and more trauma clinicians are considering research careers than before.