Glossary of Terms for PBRN Research Project Teams
Academic research project team: This is the team of investigators and staff at an academic institution that develops, procures funding for, and takes responsibility for a research project. Academic leaders of this team may approach a PBRN to participate in a clinical trial. If a research project's Principal Investigator is a member of a PBRN core team, the PBRN core team may function as the academic research project team.
PBRN: A group of community and/or academically-affiliated practices that are committed to improving medical care on a range of health problems by conducting primary care research, engaging understudied populations, and accelerating adoption of new knowledge and best practices. PBRNs may also be referred to as "networks" in the FAQs.
PBRN central research project team: All staff and investigators from the PBRN's core operations and administrative unit who are working on a particular research project. This team includes individuals such as academic investigators and a PBRN Coordinator.
PBRN Coordinator: The PBRN Coordinator, sometimes known as the Network Coordinator, is a member of the PBRN core team, and is responsible for managing the daily operations of the PBRN. This includes primary hiring, training and oversight of staff; and assignment of staff to research projects. This individual is responsible for communicating with other PBRN core team members about the status of research projects in the PBRN. The PBRN Coordinator communicates regularly with PBRN Director. The PBRN Coordinator often serves the role of PBRN Research Project Manager.
PBRN core team: Staff and investigators who are part of the PBRN’s core operations and administrative unit, often at a University, sometimes in an independent non-profit entity. The core team almost always includes the PBRN Director and the PBRN Coordinator. The PBRN core team functions like a Coordinating Center for the PBRN practices participating in a multisite clinical trial.
PBRN Director: The PBRN Director is usually a clinician or researcher who has responsibility for PBRN operations and for overall PBRN management, and sets the direction for the PBRN mission, goals, oversight, opportunities and collaborations. The Director identifies research investigators to work with the PBRN, reports to a governing board, and reports to any other entities to which the PBRN is responsible (e.g., University). The PBRN Director frequently serves as a research project Principal Investigator (PI) or co-PI. The Director communicates regularly with the PBRN Coordinator and other PBRN staff.
PBRN governing/advisory board: The governing board for a PBRN, usually comprising representatives from the PBRN core team and member practices. The governing board may also include community representatives.
PBRN Investigator/Senior Scientist: The PBRN Investigator is a member of the PBRN central research project team who can serve as a research project PI, co-PI, co-investigator, or occasionally the Site PI. This individual is either a member of the PBRN core team or has experience working with the PBRN core team and the PBRN's practices. The PBRN investigator is a member of the academic research project team who represents and advocates for the PBRN and its practices throughout the research project.
PBRN on-site research project team: Staff organized by the PBRN who are conducting work at the practice site. These individuals are most commonly Practice Liaisons/Research Project Coordinators, Practice Facilitators, and Research Assistants. They can be practice staff members who take on these roles, or individuals outside the practice who are hired by the PBRN for this work.
PBRN Research Project Manager: The PBRN Research Project Manager is a member of the PBRN core team and the PBRN central research project team who manages and organizes the PBRN-based activities of an individual research project. This may include the following types of activities, all specific to the research project: hiring, training and supervising PBRN research project team staff; maintaining communications across the PBRN research project team; assigning tasks to research project staff; coordinating roles to complete the PBRN-based research project; ensuring adherence to research project procedures and timelines; overseeing research project recruitment and follow-up activities. The PBRN Research Project Manager serves as the PBRN central research project team contact for both participating practices and the academic research project team and/or PI. If the PBRN is the prime organization for a research project, then the PBRN Research Project Manager may manage and organize the research project overall.
PBRN research project team: All staff and investigators affiliated with the PBRN working on a particular research project. This team includes individuals from the PBRN central research project team and the PBRN on-site research project team.
Practice Facilitator (PF): Practice Facilitators are members of the PBRN on-site research project team. The role of the PF in conducting practice-based research and the relationship that the PF maintains with the PBRN sites make PBRN studies unique. Within the PBRN, the PF can function as a Research Project Coordinator, a Research Assistant, and as a practice enhancement resource to practices. PFs also function in a manner similar to an agricultural extension agent, sharing ideas and successes across practice teams within the region served by the PF. Practice Facilitators are generally supervised by the PBRN Research Project Manager. Not all research project teams include practice facilitators.
Practice Lead Physician/Clinician: Practice Lead Physicians/Clinicians are physicians or clinicians practicing at PBRN sites who are responsible for communicating information regarding all phases of the research project with other practice providers and staff. They work closely with the PBRN central research project team (e.g., PBRN Research Project Manager) and on-site staff involved in the research (e.g., Practice Liaison/Research Project Coordinator, Research Assistants, Practice Facilitators). The Practice Lead Physician/Clinician serves as a leader for the research project at the practice. Some multisite trials designate this person as the "Site PI."
Practice Liaison/Research Project Coordinator: This individual is a member of the PBRN on-site research project team who serves as the key practice contact for the PBRN central research project team and maintains timely and ongoing communication with individuals at the site. This individual organizes and conducts research project procedures at one or more practice sites. This person may be a member of the practice's nursing or administrative staff or hired by the PBRN for this work. This role can also be filled by a Research Assistant or a Practice Facilitator. Practice Liaisons/Research Project Coordinators are generally supervised by the PBRN Research Project Manager. This person works closely with the Practice Lead Physician/Clinician and may champion the research project in the practice.
Practice Manager: This is the individual who manages clinical operations at a practice. This individual is often involved in communications with the PBRN central research project team and the PBRN on-site research project team (e.g., Practice Liaison/Research Project Coordinator, Practice Facilitators) to ensure the research project runs smoothly without adversely affecting the work of the practice.
Principal Investigator (PI): The individual who is responsible for oversight and direction of the clinical trial. This is usually a faculty member at an academic institution, but could be an individual who is in a leadership role at a PBRN. This individual is responsible for the management and integrity of the design, conduct, and reporting of the clinical trial and for managing, monitoring, and ensuring the integrity of any collaborative relationships. This individual is responsible for communicating research project updates, changes, or problems to research project team members and funders (as appropriate), and for communicating with research project consultants.
Research Assistants: Research Assistants can be members of the PBRN on-site research project team and/or the PBRN central research project team. They are responsible for conducting research project activities. Depending on their research project activities, they stay in close communication with and are supervised by the Practice Liaison/Research Project Coordinator and/or the PBRN Research Project Manager.
Site Principal Investigator (PI): In a PBRN multisite clinical trial, this role is generally held by the Practice Lead Physician/Clinician, and sometimes by a PBRN Investigator/Senior Scientist, depending on the organizational structure of the PBRN.
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