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Community Based Research Networks

Community Based Research Networks

A Community Based Research Network (CBRN) is a network of medical practices interested in developing or participating in clinical research projects. CBRNs involve more diverse populations of both clinicians and patients in the research process to help speed the rate at which medical research leads to useful changes in clinical practice. CBRNs provide a great opportunity for interactions between clinicians practicing in a variety of locations and serving a variety of patients. This allows studies that would not be feasible if one tried to carry them out in a single type of practice. Clinicians experienced in providing care in a variety of settings and researchers experienced with diverse research methods will be brought together and studies are more likely to provide convincing results that are directly applicable to practice in many settings.

Over the last year, Dr. Jeffrey Whittle and his colleagues have formed a network of physicians and practitioners interested in developing or participating in clinical research projects ­ a community based research network or CBRN. Our CBRN is a major initiative of the NIH funded Clinical Translational Science Institute (CTSI) of Southeastern Wisconsin. The network is now registered as a Practice-Based Research Network with the US Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality (AHRQ).

The CBRN includes practices and practitioners who are:

  • Affiliated with the Medical College of Wisconsin
  • Affiliated with the Marquette University School of Nursing
  • Affilitated with University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Nursing
  • Independent or part of another organization

Joining our CBRN allows us know which physicians are willing to consider CBRN approved studies. These studies will range from simple surveys to trials of new agents for common conditions (e.g., hypertension) to studies of innovative practice management approaches.

Any approved study will have mechanisms to cover costs to your practice, including the disruption that the research might bring. In every case, the CBRN would contact you or your designee to provide a brief description of the study so you can decide if it might be of interest to you, before releasing your contact information to the study team.



  • Potential for participating in projects that would be of interest to the practice
  • Membership in CTSI

  • Eligibility to apply for funding for clinical research
  • Invitations to CTSI events, including in particular many “-invitation-only” workshops
  • CTSI newsletter
  • Networking with other CTSI members from our partner institutions


  • Academic collaborators
  • Trained research assistants/nurses (those these would need to be purchased)
  • Assistance in applying for funding for clinical research
    • Grant-writing
    • Biostatistical support
    • Use of translational research units
    • Access to the MCW library system


In addition to consolidating a group of like minded investigators, the CTSI CBRN supports efforts to carry out research that will be relevant to community practice in the following ways:

  • Front end review by the CBRN steering committee to advise you regarding suitability of your proposed project for participating site, funding options, and potential collaborators.
  • Descriptions of the participating practices suitable for inclusion in grant applications, including:
    • Demographics of the population served
    • Salient clinical characteristics of the population served
    • Clinician staffing levels
    • On site resources (space, radiology, lab, etc.)
  • Connections to researchers experienced in:
    • Survey methods
    • Clinical trials
    • Data management
    • Statistical analysis
  • Support for the nuts and bolts of carrying out research in busy clinical practices
    • Consolidated IRB reporting
    • Pre-grant assistance with estimating budgetary requirements
    • When and how to constitute a Data Safety Monitoring Board
    • Unobtrusive, effective recruitment practices

How to Join


  • Contact information
  • Willingness to review potential research projects at various stages
  • Willingness to comment on how to improve the CBRN
  • Participation in clinical trials that are appropriate to your practice

Contact Us


Jeff Whittle, MDJeffrey Whittle, MD
Professor; Director, CBRN
Medicine, Division of General Internal Medicine
Zablocki VA Medical Center
FCD Profile / Email / (414)384-2000 x46444

NIH Funding Acknowledgment: Important Reminder – Please acknowledge the NIH when publishing papers, patents, projects, and presentations resulting from the use of CTSI resources by including the NIH Funding Acknowledgement.


Children's Hospital of WisconsinMarquette UniversityMSOEUWMVersitiVA Medical Center