CTSA funding continues to spark translational initiatives

dr_patientThe Clinical & Translational Science Award (CTSA) program, which selected the Health Science Center and its South Texas partners for CTSA funding in 2008, is undergoing an evolution at the National Institutes of Health, where a new institute, the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), now administers the CTSA program.

The CTSA program at the Health Science Center, under the auspices of the Institute for Integration of Medicine & Science (IIMS), is also evolving in its scope and outreach, said IIMS Director Robert A. Clark, M.D., assistant vice president for clinical research at the Health Science Center.

The IIMS provided CTSA funding to develop electronic health record capability at 24 different practice-based research network sites, a vital lifeline that ties health care providers in the community to academic resources in the Long School of Medicine at the Health Science Center. “We are developing capabilities to pull clinical data from electronic health records at these practices and merge this information with clinical research data,” Dr. Clark said.

CTSA funding also makes possible a robust education, training and career development program that developed a translational science Ph.D. program to educate the next cadre of scientists focused on translating research discoveries from bench to bedside. The first five graduate students in the program began course work last fall. The program is in collaboration with UT San Antonio,
UT Austin and the UT Houston School of Public Health.

These and other initiatives – including a pilot projects program supporting research that is jointly funded by various partners – has the CTSA on a continuing high trajectory.

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