Aurora Research Institute

Helping People Live Well through Research Innovation

Research specialists at Aurora Research Institute are committed to conducting cutting edge bench and clinical research, integrating this knowledge at the patient’s bedside and communicating valuable patient-centered results to the community. Beneficial patient-centered outcomes are the focus of medical research at Aurora Health Care.

Physician scientist seeks innovative ways to improve quality of life


  • The advanced laboratories within Aurora’s Research Centers allow scientists to explore innovative ways to improve quality of life.
Research translated to patient bedside

Patient's bedside

  • Research is translated to the bedside where a new intervention, medication, or device discovered during a Clinical Trial benefits patient care.
Research knowledge shared with the community


  • Collaborative research efforts address needs within the community, such as studies conducted by the Center for Urban Population Health, or CUPH, which focuses on urban health needs.

There are two primary areas of patient-centered research at Aurora Health Care: investigator-initiated research and clinical trials. Investigator-initiated research includes projects and programs that Aurora physicians and scientists develop within their special interest areas. Clinical trials are industry and government-sponsored projects that provide opportunities to present new treatmentsto the community.  

Both research areas are supported by Aurora’s Research Centers, which include the following programs, centers and laboratories: Aurora University of Wisconsin Medical Group (AUWMG), Biomedical Research (Basic and Applied Research),  Sheikh Khalifa bin Hamad Al Thani Center for Integrative Research on Cardiovascular Aging, Center for Urban Population Health (CUPH), Comprehensive Breast Care Center Aurora Sinai Medical Center, Personalized Medicine Institute – ORBIT (Open-Source Robotic Biorepository and Informatics Technology), Regenerative Medicine Center (Cell Therapy), St. Luke’s Center for Gastroenterology Research.

These specialized programs allow physicians and scientists to focus on core areas and provide the best patient-centered outcomes. Medical residents and fellows also have the opportunity to learn from leading physicians and scientists. Aurora also offers researchers informatics support through novel data mining techniques, which is viewed as an integral part of Aurora’s ability to take advantage of its resources to enhance provider clinical quality, individualize treatment and improve financial performance. In addition, Aurora investigators have access to the organization’s Institutional Review Board (IRB), to ensure compliance with all applicable human subjects protection guidelines.

Through the Patient-Centered Research area, Aurora offers two levels of service to investigators interested in pursuing research studies. The Investigator-Initiated Research (IIR) team fosters scientific relationships, offering guidance to investigators in the areas of research design, analysis and review. IIR also translates results from the scientist’s bench to the patient’s bedside and into the community. The Sponsored Programs Office offers pre-award project planning and development.  

Aurora Health Care conducts patient-centered research studies in the areas of cardiac, oncology, neurological and woman’s health care, among others. The health care system incorporates cutting-edge research and evidence-based best practice into high-quality patient care. With hundreds of active clinical trials and investigator-initiated study protocols at any given time, Aurora patients can choose to participate in a variety of projects, including those focused on treatments, prevention, diagnostics, screening and quality of life.

Patient-Centered Outcomes Research: Integrating Clinical Research into Patient Care

There are four dimensions of outcomes for medical research. A study or clinical research project may produce an outcome in one or multiple dimensions.

  • Community - benefits to the community through awareness, education or services.
  • Communicating new knowledge - publications, standards of practice, and refinded techniques, policies and procedures in the health and medical fields through shared knowledge.
  • Idividual Patient and Populations - improvements in the patient outcomes and managing the health of populations are seen as a result of studies performed.
  • System/Insitutional - improved efficiencies in institutional processes or operating costs (focused on return on investment, or ROI). 

Patient-Centered Medical Research Outcomes at Aurora

  • Firsts: CORE valve, and an oral multiple sclerosis drug trial.
  • Major site for newly developed cardiac mitral valve clip (2010 Wall Street Journal).
  • One of only four sites in the world offering a cellular therapy (TIL, or tumor-infiltrating lymphocyte) trial for malignant melanoma patients.
  • Collaboration with GE Healthcare to evaluate 3D imaging technique in atrial fibrillation ablation.
  • Discovery and characterization of a novel molecule (CTLA-4) and its corresponding gene in patients with autoimmune thyroid disease.
  • Highlighted nationally for its biorepository program, Open-Source Robotic Biorepository and Informatics Technology (ORBIT).
  • Developed the Wisconsin Medical Entrepreneurship Foundation to accelerate translation of medical innovations and develop a business model for growth in Wisconsin.
  • Focus on identifying determinants of health, well-being and disease in different ethnic groups,, forging partnerships with community health and academic experts to design and implement preventive interventions and measuring those interventions’ effectiveness.
  • Identified three areas in particular need – maternal and infant health, high-risk youth behaviors and violence prevention, and healthy aging.
  • Implemented programs including:
  1. Safe Mom, Safe Baby – innovative program aimed at identifying and addressing intimate-partner violence against pregnant women.
  2. Group prenatal care – project aimed at improving access to quality prenatal care for vulnerable pregnant teens by bringing the care to them, in a supportive group setting, right in their school.
  3. Milwaukee Health Report – uses data from an Aurora Community Survey and other sources to define health disparities in Milwaukee and the key factors that may affect future health.
  4. Catalog of Initiatives - addresses disparities in birth outcomes and infant mortality. A source of information on what organizations, research and programs are addressing infant health in Wisconsin;  a resource for anyone seeking to build community-academic partnerships in the area of maternal and infant health.
  • Hundreds of publications/abstracts in scientific and professional journals.
  • Demand for fellowship and resident research training
  • Educates 2,000 students, interns and fellows annually.
  • Grants, contracts, intellectual property and equity support ROI.
  • Magnet hospitals (nursing and research).
  • Member of the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS).