5

Conclusion: Opportunities for Action

In its first 7 years, the Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) Program has served as a foundation and catalyst for clinical and translational research at 61 academic health centers and other institutions across the United States. With the ultimate goal of improving human health, the CTSA Program now has the opportunity to propel clinical and translational research efforts forward rapidly. To move to CTSA 2.0, the CTSA Program can build on its foundation, draw on the creativity and dedication of CTSA principal investigators, researchers, and staff; use the ever-expanding capabilities of informatics and other technologies; share data and research support tools as openly and freely as possible; and fully engage new cadres of researchers focused on team-based science. Looking forward, the committee has identified four key opportunities for action:

• adopt and sustain active program leadership;

• engage in substantive and productive collaborations;

• develop and widely disseminate innovative research resources; and

• build on initial successes in training and education, community engagement, and child health research.

The next steps can be accomplished at multiple levels:

• The National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) has responsibilities to increase its leadership presence for the CTSA Program. This effort will require working with all



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5 Conclusion: Opportunities for Action In its first 7 years, the Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) Program has served as a foundation and catalyst for clinical and translational research at 61 academic health centers and other institutions across the United States. With the ultimate goal of improving human health, the CTSA Program now has the opportunity to propel clinical and translational research efforts forward rapidly. To move to CTSA 2.0, the CTSA Program can build on its foundation, draw on the creativity and dedication of CTSA principal investigators, researchers, and staff; use the ever-expanding capabilities of informatics and other technologies; share data and research support tools as openly and freely as possible; and fully engage new cadres of researchers focused on team-based sci- ence. Looking forward, the committee has identified four key opportuni- ties for action:  adopt and sustain active program leadership;  engage in substantive and productive collaborations;  develop and widely disseminate innovative research resources; and  build on initial successes in training and education, community engagement, and child health research. The next steps can be accomplished at multiple levels:  The National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) has responsibilities to increase its leadership presence for the CTSA Program. This effort will require working with all 143

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144 THE CTSA PROGRAM AT NIH program components to set goals and provide incentives and di- rection in order to move to a fully integrated network focused on accelerating clinical and translational research.  The multiple components of the CTSA Program should work to- gether under the direction of the recommended NCATS-CTSA Steering Committee to streamline the consortium structure, en- gage all individual CTSAs in meeting strategic goals and objec- tives, and use the Coordinating Center to share and implement best practices.  Individual CTSAs can bring their creativity and institutional strengths and their local collaborations to bear on removing bar- riers and solving the larger challenges of clinical and translation- al research. By engaging their local communities and building on their expertise, individual CTSAs can be active hubs within the larger CTSA Program network.  Community organizations and individuals, practice-based re- search networks, the HMO Research Network, industry partners, other NIH institutes and centers, and other potential collabora- tors can explore the opportunities that the CTSA Program pro- vides and can push NCATS and individual CTSAs to engage in truly collaborative ventures focused on facilitating and accelerat- ing clinical and translational research. In conclusion, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) committee believes that the CTSA Program should be the national leader for advancing in- novative and transformative clinical and translational research to im- prove human health. To achieve this, the CTSA Program should reshape its goals to reflect its new location within NCATS; build on the work of individual CTSAs to provide institutional leadership; focus on team- based education and training; and establish a national network that will accelerate the development of new diagnostics, therapeutics, and preven- tive interventions and, at the same time, drive innovation in clinical and translational research methods, processes, tools, and resources. Because the CTSA Program is not disease specific in its orientation, strong collaborations must be forged across disciplinary units within in- dividual CTSA institutions and with other NIH institutes and centers, as well as with other government funders, industry, philanthropies, and community organizations. The CTSA Program should continue to lead efforts in expanding and diversifying the research workforce and to coordinate and advance child

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CONCLUSION: OPPORTUNITIES FOR ACTION 145 health by streamlining and building on the expertise of individual CTSAs. In all these efforts, community engagement is essential. The contributions of individual CTSAs and the CTSA Program are vital to the clinical and translational research enterprise, and the nation’s health can benefit greatly from strengthening their efforts.

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