Step inside iResearch Savannah on E. 69th Street, and you’ll think you’ve stepped into a new digital marketing office or a hip study space for art students. The giant jellyfish mural, Panhandle Slim painting, and spiral staircase give no indication that iResearch Savannah is a clinical research center. iResearch Savannah Chief Operations Office Sara Castle says the decor reflects the facility’s entire mission: to be a warm, welcoming resource for our community.
iResearch Savannah is a multi-specialty clinical research center that studies depression, Alzheimer’s Disease, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, postpartum depression, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and more.
Castle says once drug companies work with the FDA to create a new way to treat something, they need unbiased researchers to help collect data from diverse populations. That’s where iResearch Savannah comes in. They work with volunteers and test new treatments to make sure good drugs go to market, and bad drugs don’t.
Castle says participating in an iResearch Savannah study is more than reporting your results and going on your way. She says she believes taking part in a research study can be one of the best care options for a patient.
“It’s not treatment, because we do still have placebo controlled trials,” Castle said. “But it is truly one of the best care options because you have time with a medical practitioner every time you come into the office. You spend more time with that person learning about your diagnosis. Getting that face to face time helps you really understand who you are, the process, and how your diagnosis influences every part of your life. It’s really an amazing care option.”
When asked what makes a “successful” study, Castle explained that success at iResearch Savannah takes many forms. She says bringing a drug to market, and stopping a drug that isn’t ready are both successes.
“It’s crazy when we think about something to treat diabetes, or Alzheimer’s, or depression, and how that can affect so many people in such an incredible way,” Castle said. “That’s a great feeling to be a part of that process.”
Castle says bringing a drug to market is an extremely long process. She says that her team’s daily successes are the anecdotal ones.
“These are the ones where we get to see someone’s life change because their anxiety ends up under control and they’re able to have a relationship at home again,” Castle said. “Or they’re able to go back to work, or they’re able to go back to school. So many people don’t realize how having anxiety, OCD or depression invades every piece of our life and how it disrupts our relationships.”
Castle says the ideal candidate for a study at iResearch Savannah is, “anyone who is on a medication and is finding that it isn’t working for them, someone who might not have a doctor to talk to about their problem with, someone who wants to participate in something for the future.”
She added that iResearch Savannah doesn’t believe that everyone is right for a study. However, the facility does have a non-profit that allows the team to connect patients with other resources in Savannah.
“We believe that if you have taken the time and effort to reach out and ask for help, that it is our obligation to be a resource for you,” Castle said.
Overall, Castle says she wants Savannahians to know that she and her team are here to help.
“Please come in and check us out,” Castle said. “We do lots of free screenings; Free memory screenings, blood pressure, diabetes, glucose screenings, depression screenings. We also help with medication management, so if you have questions about how your medication works, come in. Come get to know who we are, and see that research isn’t so scary.”
For more information on volunteering, current studies, and free screenings, visit iresearchsavannah.com