Supporting researchers through full-service hotline and consultation services: Success in simplicity, customization, and staffing.


Navigating the research domain at an academic medical center can be challenging, even for seasoned investigators. To address this, Duke University launched two initiatives: (1) a research navigation "hotline" to provide brief assistance with a variety of research questions; and (2) researcher onboarding and consultation, a one-to-one tailored offering to ensure that researchers are equipped to navigate research resources and processes effectively. The services are provided by the myRESEARCHnavigators (MRN) team, funded by Duke's CTSA. The diverse scientific backgrounds of the six team members align well with those of the research community, allowing for a good match between the researcher and MRN team member. The MRN team answers approximately 30 questions per month, and has provided consultations to almost 400 researchers. Both services receive high satisfaction ratings (4 or 5 stars [out of 5 stars] given to 90% of hotline answers, and 99% of researcher onboarding/consultation sessions). As of July 2019, the School of Medicine has determined that the consultations are critical to their mission and have made them a requirement for new research faculty. The team will continue marketing both services to encourage adoption.





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Publication Info

Brouwer, Rebecca Namenek, Emily Miller, Sunita Patil, Geeta K Swamy, Rebbecca Moen, Amanda McMillan and L Ebony Boulware (2020). Supporting researchers through full-service hotline and consultation services: Success in simplicity, customization, and staffing. Journal of clinical and translational science, 4(1). pp. 3–7. 10.1017/cts.2019.428 Retrieved from

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Rebecca Brouwer

Dir, Research Initiatives

My overarching goal is to facilitate effective research and collaborations for the Duke research community, through the delivery of targeted programs, tools, and individual consultations.


Sunita Patil

Assoc Dir, Research Operations

am currently a Associate Director-Research Operations with almost 15 years of demonstrated clinical research success. I serve as a mentor to individuals conducting clinical, translational, and qualitative research as part of the Duke community, which includes faculty, postdoctoral fellows, trainees, medical students, and clinical operations staff. I was instrumental in implementing the DOCR study design and grant planning services across the institution. I also serve as a navigator, answering a variety of questions from researchers at all stages of their careers and providing onboarding services to new investigators. I keep abreast of new information and Duke-wide policy updates regarding medical research, particularly pertaining to the IRB and National Institutes of Health, so that I can provide appropriate and timely advice to faculty and research staff. My current position enables me to connect my clients to resources at Duke that will support and facilitate their research efforts. This experience has helped me further develop my communication skills as well as a good sense of timeliness and discernment for providing the right amount of assistance. My ideas have been instrumental in shaping the development and success of the study planning, onboarding and navigation program.


Geeta Krishna Swamy

Haywood Brown, MD Distinguished Professor of Women's Health

Dr. Geeta Swamy, MD, is Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology in the Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine, having served as the director of the Duke Perinatal Research Center and Vice Chair for Research and Faculty Development in the Department of ObGyn. She has achieved international acclaim as a clinician researcher and expert in the field of maternal immunization and perinatal infection. As a consultant to the World Health Organization, Dr. Swamy contributes her knowledge to advance international work to evaluate the immunogenicity, safety, and efficacy of vaccines in pregnant women. The American College of ObGyn has grown to be the “collective voice” for women’s health, and Dr. Swamy has been a leader within that organization for the last two decades. She currently serves as the Co-Principal Investigator for the NIH-NIAID Vaccine Treatment and Evaluation (VTEU) and CDC Clinical Immunization Safety Assessment. In addition, she has been a leader at Duke and nationally in promoting a culture of scientific integrity and transparency in research. She has been instrumental in developing and leading the School of Medicine’s research initiatives in administration, regulatory oversight, and compliance. In 2018, she became Vice Dean for Scientific Integrity in the School of Medicine and Associate Vice President for Research for Duke University. In these roles she oversees the Duke Office of Scientific Integrity (DOSI) which houses the Advancing Scientific Integrity, Services, & Training (ASIST) initiative, conflict of interest, clinical quality management, incident response in research, and research misconduct. She also oversees the Duke Office of Research Initiatives, the Duke Health IRB, Office of Research Administration (ORA), and Office of Research Contracts (ORC). 


L. Ebony Boulware

Adjunct Professor in the Department of Medicine

Dr. Boulware is a general internist, physician-scientist and clinical epidemiologist focused on improving health and health equity for individuals and communities affected by chronic health conditions such as kidney disease. A national thought leader in health equity, she has identified patient, clinician, system, and community-level barriers that result in disparate outcomes for Black and other marginalized individuals. Using pragmatic trials, she has developed successful interventions, shaped guidelines, raised physician awareness and changed clinical practice.  Throughout her work, Dr. Boulware has sought to improve transparency and trustworthiness in science and medicine. 

Her research has been continuously funded by the National Institutes for Health, the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute, and other organizations throughout her career. She has published over 200 manuscripts, book chapters, and editorials, and she mentors numerous students, residents, fellows, and faculty members.  Dr. Boulware is an elected member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation, the Association of American Physicians, the National Academy of Medicine, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

PubMed Listing Here (Link)


  • A.B. Vassar College, 1991
  • M.D. Duke University, 1995
  • M.P.H. Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, 1999

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