IN THE NEWS: A telesitevisit: Cancer center site visits go virtual amid COVID-19 pandemic

After nearly 18 months of hard work and an almost 2,000-page grant application, Karmanos had a successful core grant site visit on May 7, 2020.

Due to COVID-19, this year’s visit was unique because it was virtual.

During these extraordinary times of the coronavirus emergency, the NIH has mandated that there be no face-to-face peer review meetings and recommended an alternative review formats (video conferencing or virtual meeting).

Karmanos was one of the first four cancer centers to engage in a virtual visit.

Countless hours of rehearsal with Karmanos senior leadership was put on stage during the unique visit. At any one point, more than 60 participants were on the WebEx meeting, including a site review team of 15 expert peer reviewers and NCI leadership and staff.

The day started with special welcomes from Wayne State University President Dr. M. Roy Wilson; McLaren Health Care CEO Phil Incarnati; Chair of the Karmanos Cancer Institute Board of Directors Tim Monohan; and Peter Karmanos Jr. It was followed by presentations in all key review areas.

Karmanos leadership answers multiple questions while presenting the latest scientific achievements at the Institute. More importantly, reviewers were keen to learn about the impact Karmanos has on its 46 county catchment area, which includes the 16-location Karmanos Network.

“The site visitors were very professional and we are pleased to report that the visit was flawless; we have no complaints about the process,” said Gerold Bepler, M.D., Ph.D., president and CEO of Karmanos.

The next step in the process occurs late July, which is the NCI Subcommittee A review. After considering the written report of the site visit committee, the NCI Subcommittee-A provides a final merit evaluation and a budget recommendation for the Cancer Center Support Grant (CCSG) application in a Summary Statement, which is provided to Dr. Bepler, the PI.

Congratulations to the entire team for a successful site visit!

Learn more about virtual NCI site visits in The Cancer Letter here.