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October 26, 1984

Basic and clinical research merge at center

JAMA. 1984;252(16):2332-2333. doi:10.1001/jama.1984.03350160190057

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The Clinical Center of the NIH is where the often-parallel paths of basic and clinical research converge.

Ever since the first patient was admitted in 1953, the Clinical Center has actively promoted and fostered the relationship between basic and clinical scientists and their work. Its physical structure is the most eminent example: On each floor of the 540-bed hospital, patient care facilities line one hall while research laboratories line another, allowing close collaboration and consultation between the 935 senior staff and postgraduate fellows.

Furthermore, says Center Director John L. Decker, MD, disease areas—rather than the usual science disciplines—determine the Clinical Center's organization. One ward, for example, may be devoted to heart disease, with specialists from all related fields working together toward a common goal. Trainees, too, transfer knowledge between patient care wards and research laboratories because they spend time on both.

"It is strictly a research operation, a research hospital,