OKLAHOMA CITY – Gary Parker, Ph.D., registered nurse, has been promoted to director of clinical research in Mercy West communities. Parker joined Mercy in 2005, serving as manager of research and chairperson of the institutional review board, which ensures the ethical soundness of research.
He is a frequent speaker at regional, national and international research conferences and has published works in several journals. Parker has conducted notable research, such as the largest worldwide physician-based end-of-life study. More than 600 participants took part in the study which revealed an overwhelming discomfort among physicians faced with managing end-of-life services for patients. Those results led to a Mercy-wide effort to improve palliative care and hospice communications and services.
Parker has led studies in clinics and emergency departments that revealed a need to educate co-workers in those settings to recognize drug and alcohol abuse in patients. The studies helped place many patients into rehabilitation, who would have otherwise not known about the services available to them.
In 2007, Parker received a Cherokee Inspirational Award for his efforts to help clinic and emergency department co-workers recognize signs of suicidal behavior. The international suicide prevention studies also looked at the differences culture plays in providing end-of-life care for patients.
In addition to his current responsibilities, Parker will be directly responsible for the Mercy oncology clinical trials department, with a focus on expanding patient access to clinical trials in facilities statewide.
Mercy is the sixth largest Catholic health care system in the U.S. and serves more than 3 million people annually. Mercy includes 31 hospitals, more than 200 outpatient facilities, 38,000 co-workers and 1,600 integrated physicians in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. Mercy also has outreach ministries in Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. For more about Mercy, visit www.mercy.net.