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Clinical and Translational Research Grant a Key Initiative for 2008

Clinical and Translational Research Grant a Key Initiative for 2008

December 3, 2007

Author: Jennifer Nachbur
Email: Jennifer.Nachbur@uvm.edu
Phone: 802/656-7875 Fax: 802-656-8577

The University of Vermont recently submitted an application for a Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The CTSA is a prestigious and innovative program that seeks to transform the way academic medical centers approach clinical and translational research and to promote an integrated academic home for this type of research. Translational research is the clinical application of scientific medical research from the lab to the bedside, and from the bedside to the community.

What a CTSA Grant Will Bring

Currently, UVM receives $2.5 million annually from the NIH for the General Clinical Research Center (GCRC), which is one of 54 centers nationwide that provides infrastructure for efficient, productive, high-quality scientific research. The CTSA grant would help create a Center for Clinical and Translational Science (CCTS) that would include the GCRC and at the same time, bring up to $6 million of additional research funding a year to the institution.

The CCTS would:
• Enhance interdisciplinary research
• Provide educational and career pathways for the next generation of clinical and translational researchers

“A focus of the program,” said Richard Galbraith, M.D., Ph.D., associate dean for patient-oriented research and director of the General Clinical Research Center, “is to bring the benefits of research not just to the bedside, but out into the larger community.”

An example of work originating at an academic medical center that addresses a specific health issue in the community can be seen in the recent naming of Vermont as the healthiest state in the country by a national health group. Part of the reason Vermont has received this designation is the fact that the state has lower smoking rates than other states – a success attributable to the work of behavioral researchers in UVM’s department of psychiatry and Office of Health Promotion Research, as well as the State of Vermont, which has supported groups in targeting tobacco cessation efforts.

In its application, UVM proposes housing the newly created CCTS in a new space at the College of Medicine, with clinical research space at Fletcher Allen. Faculty and staff from many colleges and departments at UVM and Fletcher Allen would come together and work in this new space. In addition, the NIH-funded K30 Curriculum in Clinical Research Training – which is designed to attract and train talented individuals to the challenges of clinical research – would be augmented by offering M.S. or Ph.D. degrees in Clinical and Translational Science and fellowships for career development.

The CTSA Application Process

Dr. Galbraith led a multidisciplinary group of faculty and staff from UVM and Fletcher Allen in developing the grant proposal. To date, 24 academic medical centers have received CTSA awards. The NIH plans to award 60 grants in total.

This is the second time UVM has applied for the grant; since its first application in March of 2006, UVM and Fletcher Allen have made significant improvements to the infrastructure and educational foundation of clinical and translational science at UVM, including:

# Approval by the UVM Board of Trustees for new space in the College of Medicine and commitment by the Dean of the College of Medicine for a substantial amount of this new space to be the home for the Vermont Center for Clinical and Translational Science (CCTS)
# The continued provision of current GCRC space in the Baird Building for future CCTS operations, with plans for new research space in the Ambulatory Care Center at Fletcher Allen Health Care.

“These major achievements,” said Dr. Galbraith, “as well as the unprecedented commitment of will, dollars and space by Fletcher Allen Health Care and the University of Vermont, have provided the infrastructure on which our CTSA application was based.”

If this year’s application is not funded, UVM will have two additional opportunities to re-apply. Institutions that do not receive CTSA grants by 2010 will lose their General Clinical Research Center and K30 funding.

“As Vermont’s academic medical center, it is essential that we continue to be able to recruit top talent in the scientific research realm,” said Melinda Estes, M.D., President and CEO. “That is why we have identified the application for a CTSA grant as one of our key initiatives for fiscal year 2008. This is an important part of our efforts to be a national model for the delivery of high quality, academic health care for a rural region.”

The NIH is expected to announce the recipients of this round of CTSA awards in May 2008.

[Note: This article was adapted from an article written by Eleanor Osborne and featured in the Nov. 21, 2007 issue of the Sun, a publication of Fletcher Allen Health Care.

 

Last modified September 16 2013 04:11 PM

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