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Updates from the Chair

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      Dane Larsen
      @Dane Larsen

      2019 Chair Report (1Q19) Final

      Chair Report on strategic plan progress (prepared: 4/3/19 by NNDC Board Chair, Ray DePaulo, MD)

      Dear NNDC Board Members and Associate Member Leaders,

      As we mark the halfway point in my current term as NNDC Board Chair, I wanted to update you on my view of “where we are now” on the original broad NNDC mission and on the narrow mission we chose to focus our limited resources around when I first stepped into the chair role in 2016. My 2016 Chair Platform was a product of the Executive Committee’s Chair Transition Plan to address membership, financial stability, and a focused effort to build a collaborative registry to promote measurement-based care and to support large-scale, patient-based research.

      Membership — Growth

      As the visibility of our work as a Network grows, we continue to attract the interest of new members. We have added seven new members in the last 3 years, and continue to receive membership inquiries from other well-regarded programs around the country.

      Center of Excellence Members

      1)   The Ohio State University (2016)

      2)   University of Texas at Houston (2017)

      3)   University of Texas at Austin (2018)

      4)   University of Florida (2018)

      Associate Members

      5)   Michigan State University & Pine Rest (2016)

      6)   Penn State University (2016)

      7)   University of Toledo (2018)

      Although we have had some membership attrition, the Medical University of South Carolina being the most recent, we have made tangible progress on the Mood Outcomes Program we have seen new centers interested in joining us. In addition, our increased number of international depression specialty affiliates (Canada, Germany, India) and discussions with International research networks such as the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium (PGC) and other clinical specialties in medicine in the US ranging from primary care networks (AAFP NRN and DARTNet), to Ob-Gyn, and more are leading to new opportunities. These opportunities, along with growing member engagement in NNDC initiatives — especially in our Task Groups — have continued to increase our active collaborative work.

      Collaborative Registry — Mood Outcomes Program reached 10,000 Patient Milestone

      The Board’s 2016 transition plan called on us to “focus on our Central Project, the Mood Outcomes Program,” and I am happy to report that we have achieved our “tipping point” target of 10,000 patients in the registry by the end of 2018. Having achieved that, we now push on to our next goal of 20,000+ patients. As we noted at our annual meeting back in 2016, this tipping point is not a stopping point, but it is key to creating a research resource of value for demonstrating the feasibility of ‘measurement-based care’ on a large scale. It also signals to others in our field (funders, potential partners, and prospective members) that we are ready and willing to work together to investigate important patient-based research questions in mood disorders.

      We also said that once we reached the 10,000-patient mark we would turn our focus to the depth and quality of our registry database as well as continuing to grow its size in numbers. In fact, a much deeper (and bigger) database from EHR is now set on our 2019 work calendar. As we scale the 10,000-patient mark in the Mood Outcomes registry, we said that we would be able to write competitive proposals for funding. We have now submitted a competitive NIMH grant application with the support of extramural staff in collaboration with the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium (PGC) and our ECT Task Force — and more are on the way. Plus, many of our Task Groups, fueled by our Momentum Grants and seeing the potential research opportunities emanating from our Mood Outcomes Program, are brimming with new projects and ideas. Our Task Groups have published a number of high-quality papers and have submitted several grants driven by the power of collaboration within these groups. We even have three new organically spawned Task Groups formed or forming to address “Opiates and Depression”, “Community Education and Awareness” and “Primary Care”.

      Financial Stability — Sustainable Revenue Model

      As we build toward our long-term prospects of generating funding through the Mood Outcomes Program, we continue to cultivate new innovative sources of funding to reduce our reliance on membership dues. In 2018, thanks to the focused efforts of our Board, Advisory Council, and NNDC team, more than $400,000 in non-dues funding was raised. Additionally, as discussed at our 2018 annual meeting, our Impact Fund Committee is forming to pursue research funding through Donor Advised Funds (DAFs), which once established will provide a long-term source of funding for Task Groups, Mood Outcomes, and other NNDC initiatives. We will continue to expand this important revenue source by cultivating of our existing donor base and growing it through donor referred to us by our Board and Advisory Council.

      Looking Forward

      Our Strategic Planning process has strengthened our commitment to two of the NNDC’s foundational goals, and placed additional emphasis on the continued need for new funding mechanisms for our work – all three of which are vital to the success of our organization:

      1. Driving the Research Agenda in Mood Disorders research
      2. Setting the Standard of Care for depression in the U.S. across all medical specialties
      3. Attracting Funding for NNDC Programs

      These important goals have been embraced by our Strategic Planning Committee and are being built into our new Strategic Plan (see below) to guide our organization through 2025. Your feedback on the draft plan provided at our 2018 annual meeting in Baltimore was both positive and affirming of our original broader mission. I would like to think this return to broad mission goals occurs both because we believe in those goals but also because members can see that we are making real progress and maintaining financial stability despite lack of significant external funding up until the last year. The committee has incorporated this into our strategic framework as they now turn to the work of operationalizing the plan. I look forward to this year’s annual meeting where we will formally review and vote to adopt this roadmap to our future.

      As I look back over these last three years, I can see a Network that has made objective progress towards key intermediate goals, with a stable set of committed NNDC Centers and a newly acquired set of relationships with other medical networks and international depression centers who want to work with us. It seems we are turning an important corner. As a responsible officer of the NNDC, I will always worry about hazards, but I also see more sources of stability and clear opportunities for us to push ahead together. It is now more important than ever that we continue to keep a strong focus on enhancing the Mood Outcomes Program as a driver and supporter of research and promoting high-quality care, along with ongoing support of our Task Group projects and active collaborations. It is clear that it is time to re-embrace our original broader mission as our Strategic Planning process has advised so that we can make a home and pave a way forward to leverage our products in the service of our mission to transform lives through innovations in treatment and prevention for depression and bipolar disorder.

      I would like to close by thanking our Executive Committee, Board Members, Associate Member Leaders, Advisory Council, Task Group co-chairs, and members, Mood Outcomes leaders and participants, NNDC members, and our NNDC team — your dedication to our mission is inspiring and it is your commitment to collaboration that makes all this possible.


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