TRAUMA TRIALS

ECU, Vidant selected for national trauma research network

East Carolina University and Vidant Medical Center have been selected for a national trauma research network for the U.S. Department of Defense.

Linking Investigations in Trauma & Emergency Services (LITES) recruits Level I trauma centers and systems across the United States to contribute to the federal government’s trauma research.

Dr. Eric Toschlog, Brody professor and chief of trauma and surgical critical care at Vidant Medical Center. (ECU File Photo)

Dr. Eric Toschlog, Brody professor and chief of trauma and surgical critical care at Vidant Medical Center. (ECU File Photo)

Level I trauma centers are all encompassing facilities that can provide full patient care and treatment.

The LITES network of trauma centers and medical schools focuses on trauma research, as well as clinical trials and treatment, for the Department of Defense.

Dr. S. Russ Price, associate dean for research at ECU’s Brody School of Medicine, said the school’s acceptance into LITES is “further validation we are a tremendous asset for eastern North Carolina in trauma.”

In addition to conducting clinical trials for the Department of Defense, ECU and Vidant will also receive opportunities to test new treatment styles and procedures.

Jim Menke, ECU’s director of Military Research Partnerships, said the new LITES network site “allows ECU/Vidant to look at the best trauma care and try new treatment that may save lives.”

Proximity to Camp Lejeune and access to air ambulance capabilities at Vidant Medical Center make eastern North Carolina an ideal location for this type of research, he said.

Menke also said ECU and Vidant are eligible for “significant” military funding to assist with trauma research.

The local LITES site is the only network site in North Carolina and the only rural site in the system.

“This is a significant honor for us as an institution. There are a number of excellent Level I trauma centers in North Carolina, but I think our volume and our outcomes are both very significant and I believe we are the perfect Level I trauma center to represent the state,” said Dr. Eric Toschlog, Brody professor and chief of trauma and surgical critical care at Vidant Medical Center, who is leading the LITES chapter.

“The fact that we are a very rural trauma system and have done research on rural trauma in the past makes us uniquely suited to assist the LITES network with research projects that demand austere conditions or environments,” Toschlog added.

The local LITES chapter will work with the network’s lead investigative center at the University of Pittsburgh to create research projects worthy of governmental funding. These projects will have practical application in the civilian environment, but also aim to generate data and productive research that can ultimately help soldiers and veterans, Toschlog said.

“The research projects are created and then selected based on their applicability to war or combat,” Toschlog added. “This is a thrilling opportunity and what I’m most hopeful for is that our membership in LITES can translate – because this is primarily a research network – into studies that ultimately help those who serve in the military, our veterans.”