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Building a Clinical Research Network in Trauma Orthopaedics: The Major Extremity Trauma Research Consortium (METRC)

The Major Extremity Trauma Research Consortium (METRC)

Journal of Orthopaedic Trauma: July 2016 - Volume 30 - Issue 7 - p 353–361
doi: 10.1097/BOT.0000000000000549
Original Article

Objectives: Lessons learned from battle have been fundamental to advancing the care of injuries that occur in civilian life. Equally important is the need to further refine these advances in civilian practice, so they are available during future conflicts. The Major Extremity Trauma Research Consortium (METRC) was established to address these needs.

Methods: METRC is a network of 22 core level I civilian trauma centers and 4 core military treatment centers—with the ability to expand patient recruitment to more than 30 additional satellite trauma centers for the purpose of conducting multicenter research studies relevant to the treatment and outcomes of orthopaedic trauma sustained in the military. Early measures of success of the Consortium pertain to building of an infrastructure to support the network, managing the regulatory process, and enrolling and following patients in multiple studies.

Results: METRC has been successful in maintaining the engagement of several leading, high volume, level I trauma centers that form the core of METRC; together they operatively manage 15,432 major fractures annually. METRC is currently funded to conduct 18 prospective studies that address 6 priority areas. The design and implementation of these studies are managed through a single coordinating center. As of December 1, 2015, a total of 4560 participants have been enrolled.

Conclusions: Success of METRC to date confirms the potential for civilian and military trauma centers to collaborate on critical research issues and leverage the strength that comes from engaging patients and providers from across multiple centers.

Supplemental Digital Content is Available in the Text.

Reprints: Ellen J. MacKenzie, PhD, Department of Health Policy and Management, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, 624 North Broadway, Room 482, Baltimore, MD 21205 (e-mail:

* A list of contributors can be found in an Acknowledgment at the end of the article.

METRC is funded by the Department of Defense through 2 awards from the Peer Reviewed Orthopaedic Research Program (PRORP) of the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP)—W8XWH-09-2-0108 and W8XWH-10-2-0090.

The authors report no conflict of interest.

Supplemental digital content is available for this article. Direct URL citations appear in the printed text and are provided in the HTML and PDF versions of this article on the journal's Web site (

Accepted January 13, 2016

Copyright © 2016 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.