CRFiCOR recently opened a new Echocardiography (Echo) Core Laboratory under the leadership of renowned expert, Dr. Rebecca T. Hahn.
Please tell us a little about your background.
I've been involved in echocardiographic core lab research for more than 20 years. Currently, I serve as the Director of Interventional Echocardiography at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center and Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine at the Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons. Previously, I directed the echocardiography lab at North Shore University Hospital. Prior to that, I was the Director of Clinical Echocardiography at Cornell University.
As the field of noninvasive imaging continues to develop rapidly, I am interested in creating innovative ways of teaching advanced echocardiography to medical students and fellows. For the last 14 years, I have been the Course Director for the Annual State-of-the-Art Echo Course which trains and educates health care professionals on established and new recommendations of the American Society of Echocardiography (ASE). I am an active member of the ASE, serving currently on its Education Committee. In the past, I served on its Board of Directors and as Chairman of the Continuing Medical Education Committee.
What role does echocardiography play in clinical trials and why is it so important?
Echocardiography is a noninvasive tool with a high safety profile that is well accepted by patients. A single imaging study gives a multitude of information about myocardial and valvular size and function as well as intracardiac pressures. It is an invaluable tool for assessing disease effects and treatment outcomes on cardiac structure and function. In clinical trials, echocardiography has been used for enrollment eligibility, clinical surveillance and providing surrogate endpoints for drugs and devices.
Since its inception in 1953, echocardiography has been used as the primary imaging tool in research in thousands of studies. Newer echocardiographic tools continue to advance our understanding of myocardial mechanics and disease detection. As these tools continue to evolve, the types of research studies that will require the use of echocardiography continue to grow.
What sets this Echo Core Laboratory apart from others?
Our dedicated and passionate team of leading interventional cardiologists and researchers as well as CRFiCOR's expertise in imaging trial design and operations. Our physicians and researchers are devoted to delivering the highest quality research and analyses for each trial they work on.
This commitment to excellence coupled with our deep experience in centralized echo collection and analysis, helps to ensure the validity and integrity of all trial data. In addition, we pride ourselves on the accurate and reliable analyses, reducing variability and enhancing the reliability of study outcomes. Finally, site selection and training form important components of our core lab responsibilities.
The strength of our Echo Core Laboratory lies in our understanding of the clinical use of echocardiography and our extensive involvement in hypotheses-driven research. With this background, our imaging protocols are not only designed to fully answer questions raised by the investigator, but also to anticipate questions that might arise during the course of the study or afterwards.
What are your plans for the future of the Echo Core Laboratory?
As an organization, the CTC is constantly looking for ways to improve and innovate clinical research processes, ultimately leading to new treatments that improve the quality of life for people with heart disease. The Echo Core Laboratory aims to follow that vision. Our main goals are to continue to enhance and refine imaging trial design and operations and produce high-quality analyses for our sponsors.
Finally, what else should we know about you?
I believe that the success of a study depends on the optimal performance of its core labs. I am committed to excellence in every role of the Echo Core Laboratory's performance: study design, site training, image collection and storage, data generation, and study management.
I grew up in St. Louis, MO, and I am the youngest of five. I have four brothers, one who is also in the medical field as a radiologist and Associate Dean of Faculty at Brown University Medical School. The others are a concert pianist, an organic chemist, and a veterinarian. I enjoy being active and for two years was in the "All-American" Women's Squash and top seed at Harvard University. Finally, I love spending time with my two daughters.
Dr. Hahn is director of the upcoming 15th Annual Echocardiography Conference: State-of-the-Art 2013, which will focus on the latest technological advances in field. The conference will be held April 3-5, 2013, at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York, NY. For more information, please visit www.nyechocourse.com.