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Innovative UPMC Center Speeds Medical Advances to U.S. Military


In an effort to accelerate the application of cutting-edge medical research to aid the U.S. military, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) today announced the establishment of the Innovative Medical and Information Technologies (IMITs) Center as a separate, not-for-profit subsidiary.

This organizational change will allow the IMITs Center to compete more effectively for federal applied research grants and services contracts, primarily from the U.S. Department of Defense. The IMITs Center is an applied research center that collaborates with military, government and private institutions to advance health care worldwide. It administers more than $40 million annually in government research funds for projects that range from preventing injuries to soldiers to simulation training for military medics.

“The IMITs Center has been uniquely successful in forging research partnerships that bring medical advances to our troops and their communities. Now, as a separate subsidiary, the center can more effectively manage the complex contracting processes and security requirements involved in doing business with the military,” said Scott Gilstrap, IMITs’ president. The center’s focus, he emphasized, is on applied research that can rapidly benefit men and women in the military and their families, as well as UPMC’s own patients. “We don’t do research for research’s sake. Everything we do is based on meeting critical military and civilian needs,” said Gilstrap.

Previously part of UPMC’s information services division, the IMITs Center grew out of a telemedicine program that started in 2002 between the U.S. Air Force Medical Services and UPMC. Created to alleviate a shortage of pathologists and radiologists, the system made it possible for diagnostic tests, such as radiology images, to be accessed by specialists anywhere in the world.

In addition to its focus on applied research, the IMITs Center now will have the ability to build a government sales and services division to translate UPMC’s research and intellectual capital into federal procurement contracts through the Department of Defense. “Long-term services agreements will help us to sustain the success and research innovation of the IMITs Center,” Gilstrap added.

As one of the nation’s most acclaimed academic medical centers, UPMC has a long track record of translating research into clinical practice. It also is a leader in commercializing its medical and information-technology expertise by creating new companies or strategic partnerships with industry leaders. Through the IMITs Center, UPMC aims to provide an efficient and effective way for government agencies and academic and private partners to collaborate on applied research programs. The center’s research work with the U.S. Army, Air Force and Navy has involved such academic partners as the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Hawaii and the University of Florida.

UPMC is the largest integrated health care enterprise in Pennsylvania and one of the leading nonprofit health systems in the country. It is the only organization that has earned honor roll status in both U.S. News & World Report’s 2006 “America’s Best Hospitals” and “America’s Best Health Plans” rankings. Widely recognized for its innovations in patient care, research, technology and health care management, UPMC has transformed the economic landscape in western Pennsylvania. The region’s largest employer, with 43,000 employees and $6 billion in revenue, UPMC comprises 19 tertiary, specialty and community hospitals, 400 outpatient sites and doctors’ offices, retirement and long-term care facilities, an insurance plan, and commercial and international ventures. Nearly 5,000 physicians are affiliated with UPMC, including more than 2,300 employed physicians. Since April 2005, UPMC has signed joint development agreements with such industry leaders as IBM, Cerner, Alcatel and dbMotion. UPMC and its partners aim to commercialize innovative technologies and services that will enhance the safety and efficiency of health care worldwide.


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