Clinical Trials > Transforming Clinical Trials With Owen Garrick, M.D.

Transforming Clinical Trials With Owen Garrick, M.D.

By Lisa Newkirk Photography by Paul Flessland

EACH YEAR, MAYO CLINIC physicians and scientists conduct high-impact, cure-enabling clinical trials that provide patients around the world access to novel diagnostics and therapeutics as part of Mayo’s integrated medical practice. Mayo Clinic welcomed Owen Garrick, M.D., as the dean of clinical trials in October 2023 and tasked him with strengthening Mayo Clinic’s standing as a national leader of innovative, demand-generating clinical trials for patients everywhere. Dr. Garrick spoke with Mayo Clinic Magazine as he embarked on his new role.

The easy answer is — it’s Mayo Clinic. It’s like playing for the New York Yankees in baseball. What I’ve seen thus far at Mayo is that all the people here are first-rate, fantastic individuals. The teams of people at Mayo are really smart and very dedicated. During my interview process, a physician told me that a lot of clinicians and researchers aren’t in the news, because at Mayo Clinic, we feel the patients are the heroes. There was a sincerity around that, and that honesty and openness really drew me toward this opportunity.

Our patients always deserve better and deserve more, so we work harder in research to find those answers.”

Clinical trials are all about creating and finding new ways of curing disease, preventing disease, supporting patients — and that could be new molecules, new drugs and compounds, new devices, new surgical techniques, new population health and population science, and more. But more than that, it’s the notion of never being satisfied with what we have now. Our patients always deserve better and deserve more, so we work harder in research to find those answers.

There’s already an established level of excellence here in terms of research and clinical trials, and there’s a willingness for continuous improvement. When you’re recognized as No. 1, it’s because you’re providing the best healthcare, the best education and the best research experiences. We don’t just want to reduce the burden of patients participating in clinical trials, we want them to be excited. And when they’re excited and engaged about their healthcare, they can help us think through what the next research questions are that we need to evaluate and find answers for.

The first is broadly personalized medicine, or making sure that new drugs and approaches work in all populations and knowing what does not work for a segment of the population. That leads into making sure that all populations are represented in research. There are a couple of approaches. One, include more ethnic, racial and geographic diversity in trials, but also, decentralize trials, which is really about having broader populations participate. We actually bring research to the patients versus having them come to where the researchers are. I think it’s fantastic because it decreases the burden to participate in research and expands the pool. And with a representative sample of the population, you can begin to see what truly works to open up personalized healthcare for more individuals.

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