Breakthroughs Begin with Patients
Dr. Barry I. Freedman is one of the most enthusiastic of all.
When Dr. Freedman spoke recently at our Dean’s Forum program, he began by showing a picture of a patient sitting in his clinic.
“I want you to see my laboratory,” said Dr. Freedman, who is chief of nephrology and the John H. Felts III Distinguished Professor of Internal Medicine. “It begins with my patients, their issues and me asking what we could do differently to improve their health.”
Dr. Freedman has changed medical thought about how African-Americans are treated for kidney disease. His discovery started with his many patients, their issues and an intense desire to improve their lives. He asked questions that challenged accepted medical practices, and research proved he was right. As a result, his work has reshaped how we think about and treat kidney disease.
We have a number of examples of this kind of patient-first approach to research at Wake Forest Baptist. An idea about improving the lives of patients leads to a pilot research study that tests the worth of that idea—a proof of concept.
Eventually, the process may produce breakthroughs that improve lives. It requires more than just patients, an involved and motivated physician-researcher and an idea, though. It takes investment.
Providing support for innovative research is becoming more and more difficult as federal research funding becomes more scarce. Comparatively modest funds required for pilot studies are essential to producing proofs of concept that can attract much larger federal grants in what is now a highly competitive funding environment.
More than ever, we need your help so that physician-researchers like Dr. Freedman can continue finding ways to improve the health of this region, state and nation. Fueled by the enthusiasm we see around us every day, our team welcomes the opportunity to talk with you about making these types of investments and moving toward more breakthroughs.
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