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About the Clinical Center For Researchers and Physicians Participate in Clinical Studies


National Institutes of Health Clinical Center

Aerial View of the Clinical Research Center
Aerial view of the NIH Clinical Center complex, Mark O. Hatfield Clinical Research Center foreground.

The Clinical Center at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland, is the nation's largest hospital devoted entirely to clinical research. It is a national resource that makes it possible to rapidly translate scientific observations and laboratory discoveries into new approaches for diagnosing, treating, and preventing disease. Approximately 1,500 studies are in progress at the NIH Clinical Center. Most are Phase I and Phase II clinical trials.

More than 350,000 patients, from all 50 states and throughout the world, have participated in clinical research at the Clinical Center since it opened in 1953.

The Clinical Center promotes translational research -- that is, the transference of scientific laboratory research into applications that benefit patient health and medical care. The "bench-to-bedside" approach adopted in 1953 locates patient care units in close proximity to cutting-edge laboratories doing related research. This facilitates interaction and collaboration among clinicians and researchers. Most important, patients and families in the Clinical Center benefit from the cutting-edge technologies and research and the compassionate care that are the signature of the NIH.

The Mark O. Hatfield Clinical Research Center was opened in 2005. The facility houses inpatient units, day hospitals and research labs and connects to the original Warren Grant Magnuson Clinical Center. Together, the Magnuson and Hatfield buildings form the NIH Clinical Center. They serve the dual role of providing humane and healing patient care and the environment clinical researchers need to advance clinical science. It was named in honor of Senator Mark O. Hatfield of Oregon, who supported medical research throughout his congressional career.

The 870,000-square-foot Hatfield building has 234 inpatient beds and 82 day-hospital stations. This arrangement can be easily adapted to allow more inpatient beds and fewer day-hospital stations, or vice versa, because the new facility's design is highly flexible.

The Clinical Center is part of the NIH's intramural science research program. The NIH is the medical research agency of the United States (US) Government. It is part of the US Department of Health and Human Services.

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