An Inside Look at 3A RESEARCH

Tamika Washington Sets Up a Premier Clinical Research Facility in the Great Lakes Bay Region

Posted In: Culture, ,   From Issue 892   By: Robert E Martin

19th February, 2020     0

Sifting through the myriad of products generated by the pharmaceutical industry to treat various medical conditions and ailments can be much like walking into a candy house through a house of mirrors - products of all shapes, sizes, colors to remedy one’s ills, yet often a disorienting and confusing process.

3A Research Michigan hopes to remedy this confusion while promoting treatment alternatives through their recently opened offices at 4677 Towne Centre Road, which is located at the Medical Arts Building #3 in Suite #303.  A fully licensed medical research clinic, currently they are conducting clinical trials on new treatments for Rosacea, Acne, Eczema, and Psoriasis, and intend to be conducting a wide variety of other clinical studies. 

Participants receive an investigational product and compensation for time and travel to visits if they qualify, participation is free, no insurance information is collected nor required, and if one qualifies one may also enjoy the benefits of viable treatment alternatives for their medical conditions.

3A Research opened its doors in Saginaw under the watchful eye of Tamika Washington, who started working in clinical trials back in 2001 at the University of Michigan as a research assistant and escalated her reputation throughout the clinical research community. For ten years she worked in California, conducting studies in Sacramento and Los Angeles and her last position was serving as Director of Research at Santa Monica Clinical Trials.

“When Catawba reached out and asked if I was interested in opening my own independent research site, of course I was ridiculously excited about the opportunity,” she relates. “I was offered to open an office Los Angeles, but they also said if I knew another location that might benefit from our services or be a good spot for an independent research center, they would be open to any ideas.  I had to think about where I wanted to be; and while L.A. is great, I’m not sure about living there long-term; so I decided to bring it back home to Saginaw, which is where I was born and raised.”

Essentially, the way independent research sites like 3A work is by getting medical studies fed to them from an umbrella organization that various pharmaceutical companies will contract with to conduct studies on medical conditions such as acne or diabetes.  “They ask if we can handle the study and then we recruit people for studies to test the product,” she explains. “For the study we are currently conducting on acne, patients come in for appointments and are compensated for their time, but they don’t know whether they will receive either the test product, or a generic form of the medication, or a placebo.  In fact, a lot of these studies are double-blinded - we’re blinded, the physician is blinded, and so are the subjects. If something adverse were to happen, we immediately unblind them; and over the entire duration of my career I’ve only had to unblind a patient once because of contraindications. The safety of the subject always comes first, which is also why they get a full physical at their first visit.”

When people come in for their first appointment they are profiled to see if they fit as subjects for the particular product test, sign a consent form that is carefully reviewed, answer all their questions, and then move forward with their physical exam, which they need to pass in order to be randomized into the study allocation.

Although currently conducting acne-related studies, Tamika says she began her career in cardio-vascular studies and enjoyed seeing the direct affect that a new type of insulin would have upon a patient; or how a new product would help lower their cholesterol levels.  “Our work isn’t limited to acne,” she explains, “and we will be conducting all different types of studies.  Right now the focus on the company I am working with is on dermatology and we’ve been looking for patients ages 12 to 30 looking for other options for treating moderate acne. We will have a possible trial for psoriasis opening in May.”

“The importance of these trials is with developing generic forms for specialized medications,” she continues. “If you can get a generic version approved it makes the medication more affordable. There’s one medication I know of that without insurance costs $1,400 per month; and even with quality insurance the patient still has a $150 co-pay each month.  That’s challenging even for someone with a good income.”

“For example, with the studies we’re conducting now, dermatology might not be on the top of the list for a patient who is under-insured; but this gives people options.  It’s why I like research and participate in these studies myself. It gives you another option and layer of care without taking anything away from the dermatologist.”

The CEO of Catawba Research is Zaidoon Al-Zubaidy and providers that are on Tamika’s team at 3A include Claudia Zacharek, MD and Dakima Bridges, FNP-C.  Any specific trial can take up to 9 years before a new medication will go to market. “The FDA requires many layers of research be done to assure a product is safe and to ascertain any potential side effects,” notes Tamika. “Every study goes through many phases and for the last phase you need to test thousands of people to make it statistically significant.”

Depending upon the nature of the trial study, the testing range can last a month to 3 years.  “With the current dermatology trial we’re looking at a month to six months for most test patients,” notes Tamika. “Compensation is tightly regulated to protect against coercion and depends upon the region and population. With our current studies each test subject receives between $60 to $75 per visit and come in to our office once a month.”

When asked what her most rewarding moments conducting clinical trials over the past 10 years, Tamika points to a particular Biologic Medication she was testing for the treatment of Plaque Psoriasis. “One of the participants was 90% covered in plaque psoriasis. He has worn long sleeve shirts and long pants every day for the past 20+ years. After one month in the trial he returned to the clinic to his follow up appointment in shorts and a short sleeve t-shirt! His skin was so incredibly clear that I cried from joy when I saw him.”  Another memorable moment was the work Tamika did for the drug Savaysa (Edoxaban), which she worked on from 2009-2010 and was approved for use by the FDA in 2015. 

Tamika says that returning to her hometown of Saginaw has been an amazing experience. “I thought there might be quite a few clinical testing sites here and am surprised that I haven’t found that many. I’m sure they’re doing it in hospitals and at individual doctor’s offices, but I am proud to be offering this type of service to our region. Since we’re offering a new service, we’re still getting our name out there.”

“I’m really excited to here,” concludes Tamika. “I’m so happy to be able to bring this type of service back to Saginaw. We have such a good hub for medicine here and remarkable health care services. It’s good place for me to be and the resources are pretty endless. I also appreciate the small town mentality - actually, I love it.”

3A Research Michigan is seeing participants for new and upcoming studies. For more information you can phone 989.401.7874 or email






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