Recruiting for the MURDOCK Study:

Improving the Face of Medicine One Person at a Time

CarolinaFireJournal -

05/06/2014 -

Staff from the Duke University-MURDOCK Study were recruiting in the waiting room of Bethesda Health Center, a local clinic designated to provide care in north Charlotte, North Carolina to under served populations when they met Denise Cabrero, a registered paramedic who was volunteering at the clinic. Her dedication to helping others was tangible to the study staff as they got to know Ms. Cabrero and learned of her work with the clinic and her training as a paramedic.


“It is my goal to spread awareness to EMTs, paramedics and firefighters that being a part of research is a way to give back directly to the future of medicine, and generations to come.” — Denise Cabrero

In addition to supporting the establishment of the Bethesda Health Center, she teaches health and safety classes there to the local community and volunteers for medical mission trips around the globe.

Her relationship with the MURDOCK Study evolved. She became more intrigued by what she learned about this long-term community health study that is trying to recruit 50,000 local residents from 18 eligible zip codes — see Table 1 for listing — who donate their biospecimens, health data, and consent to participate in clinical research studies approved by Duke University. Because her experiences aligned with the goals of the MURDOCK Study — reaching out to the local community to improve the future of medicine — Ms. Cabrero now serves as a recruiter for this growing effort. With the Kannapolis, North Carolina-based clinical research team, she works hard to educate communities, organizations, churches, healthcare practices and individuals about the MURDOCK Study’s goals and plans.

The MURDOCK Study, a longitudinal health study designed by Duke University to better understand diseases that continue to perplex the medical and scientific communities, is building a registry of individuals, ages 18 and older who live in the defined geographic region. Enrollment in this study is now up to more than 10,300 participants. Data collected from volunteers include a comprehensive questionnaire, vital signs and small amounts of blood and urine, limited access to electronic de-identified medical record data (if available), and permission to be contacted up to four times a year to participate in other MURDOCK-approved research. Those who choose to join the study will be followed for an indefinite period of time and may withdraw their consent at any time.

Ms. Cabrero’s roles in the local community are diverse however, they share one common theme: service.

She poignantly noted how her role as a paramedic intersects with her work as a recruiter: “It is my goal to spread awareness to EMTs, paramedics and firefighters that being a part of research is a way to give back directly to the future of medicine, and generations to come. With [our] participation, [we] can make a difference by finding better ways to fight disease.” Joining the MURDOCK Study is easy; a small amount of time —30 minutes — could make a very big difference.

The goal of the MURDOCK Study is intended to improve how health and diseases are classified whether working toward a better understanding of how a disease progresses or understanding why patients respond differently to drug therapies and by using special technologies to do so. This community-based population study is very unique in both size and vision. By recruiting one person at a time, Duke researchers and their partners hope to ultimately change the face of medicine.

  Table 1:   Eligible Zip Codes  
  28025   28026  
  28027   28036  
  28071   28075  
  28078   28081  
  28082   28083  
   28097   28107  
  28124   28138  
  28213   28215  
  28262   28269  

For more information about eligibility, general enrollment, or specific diseases being recruited, please visit the MURDOCK Study website at or call 704-250-5861.
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