Last month, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) released its report on the National Institutes Health-sponsored Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) Program.
UC’s institutional CTSA was awarded in 2009 and is based in the Center for Clinical and Translational Science and Training (CCTST).
A partnership between the university, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, the Cincinnati Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center and UC Health, the CCTST serves as a research resource and "academic home” for clinical and translational scientists and programs. Working through the CTSA program, CCTST serves to bring innovations from the laboratory bench to the bedside and to applications within the community.
James Heubi, MD, professor of pediatrics, associate dean for clinical and translational research and co-director of CCTST, responds to questions raised regarding the impact of this report on the planned competitive renewal application for UC’s institutional CTSA.
What is your reaction to the report?
The IOM report overall was quite positive, and the summary offered several points that will likely be addressed in the Request for Applications (RFA)—anticipated in the next two to three months—to which the CCTST will respond.
We are encouraged that the CTSA Program will continue to receive strong support by the NIH in the future. We believe the proposed IOM recommendations should be implemented and we are confident that our local efforts are currently well aligned with these recommendations.
The report recommended a number of changes, both to the NIH and to participating institutions. What are some of the areas that institutions can address, and how is the CCTST already addressing these?
We are particularly gratified by the concepts raised that each CTSA should capitalize on its institutional strengths and serve as an institutional focus for clinical and translational research.
Three areas recommended by the IOM that can be directly addressed by participating intuitions are:
• Advance innovation in education and training programs.
• Ensure community engagement in all phases of research.
• Strengthen clinical and translational research relevant to child health.
The CCTST’s infrastructure is already set up to address these recommendations and has achieved much success. To date, we have:
• Developed training programs (master’s and certificate) in clinical and translational science.
• Launched a Community Leaders Institute, with participants leveraging more than $3.3 million for their own organizations.
• Engaged in a statewide network to connect Ohio’s Practice-Based Research Networks.
• Worked with partnering institutions in Ohio to develop a statewide process for IRB approval on multi-center trials.
• Worked directly with investigators in the greater Cincinnati area to reduce emergency department visits for children and adolescents with asthma.
These are but a few of the things that CCTST has been able to accomplish.
What is the CCTST planning for the coming year?
In 2013 we launched a new initiative aimed at helping young investigators to determine their research and mentoring needs and offer suggestions and advice for career planning. It also supports more established investigators who need additional help to support their research efforts. We call this the Integration Committee and we meet two to three times per month. We will continue with this initiative and build it into our response to the RFA.
We have also developed a mentorship training program based on a model from the University of Wisconsin. We’ve already hosted two training sessions and will continue to roll this out to the university community.
We hope to work more closely in the coming year with the UC Research Institute to promote collaboration between UC faculty and industry in the area of medical device design.
We are also developing agreements between local hospitals to provide reciprocity for IRB approval between institutions.