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New Digestive Health Center Combines Research With Clinical Practice

February 12, 2023
by Serena Crawford

Yale’s Digestive Health Center in North Haven, a new hub offering advanced medical and surgical treatments for gastrointestinal issues, welcomed its first patients on January 31, 2023. Located at 8 Devine Street, the facility serves as a home for the Center for Weight Management, a collaborative venture between Yale School of Medicine (YSM) and Yale New Haven Health (YNHHS) that offers a comprehensive range of services for patients needing help in achieving their target weight. Other clinical programs at the facility include the Center for Nutrition and Wellness, Fatty Liver Disease Program, Gastrointestinal Motility Program, Inflammatory Bowel Disease Program, Celiac Disease Program, and General Gastroenterology.

Bubu Banini, MD, PhD, assistant professor of medicine (digestive diseases) and translational research director for the Metabolic Health and Weight Management Program, chairs the Digestive Health Research Operations committee, which was formed during the drafting stage of the facility to oversee the establishment of the clinical research infrastructure at the site.

“We were inspired to include planning for the clinical research space from the very beginning due to our desire to create a facility that truly integrates research with clinical practice,” she said.

In addition to expanding access to clinical trials for both patients and researchers, the clinical research program will provide education and opportunity for involvement to nursing and clinic staff. The collaborative and integrative nature of the program will potentially lead to new avenues for professional growth and job satisfaction, said Loren Laine, MD, chief of the Yale Department of Internal Medicine’s Section of Digestive Diseases and medical chief of YNHHS’s Digestive Health service line.

It is a premier site to grow enrollment and attract new trials and promotes multidisciplinary research collaboration.

Bubu Banini, MD, PhD

There are several unique aspects of the facility and research space, according to Banini and Laine. The joint effort between YSM and YNHHS brings together clinicians, researchers, and staff in various disciplines, such as digestive diseases, endocrinology, surgery, neuroscience, and orthopaedics. The clinical research area includes a secured specimen room to perform initial processing of samples that can be stored on-site with subsequent transport to other facilities, including a central biorepository. And with easy parking in a patient-centric location, the facility is designed to improve both researcher and patient experience.

Both Banini and Laine believe that the clinical research space is an important milestone in YSM’s and YNHHS’s vision to integrate patient-oriented research with clinical practice.

“It is a premier site to grow enrollment and attract new trials and promotes multidisciplinary research collaboration,” Banini said.

Since forming one of the nation’s first sections of hepatology and then gastroenterology over 50 years ago, Yale’s Section of Digestive Diseases has had an enduring impact on research and clinical care in gastrointestinal and liver disorders. To learn more about their work, visit Digestive Diseases.

Submitted by Serena Crawford on February 10, 2023