Director’s Corner

September 26, 2019: We Want Your Input on the CTSA Program to Ensure Our Collective Success!

Christopher Austin

Some of the most vexing problems in translational science are in the clinical domain, which at NCATS means every step in the process that involves humans—from safety and efficacy testing of a new health intervention to its implementation in medical practice to its dissemination to all communities who could benefit from it.

The largest clinical initiative NCATS supports is the Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) Program. This remarkable effort brings together academic medical centers from around the country to innovate locally, regionally and nationally on the myriad scientific and operational roadblocks currently limiting clinical translation. The program’s present focus areas include—

  • Harnessing informatics and the electronic medical record
  • Increasing the quality and efficiency of clinical trials
  • Leveraging the potential of community engagement to enhance clinical research
  • Integrating special and underserved populations in translational research across the lifespan
  • Training and cultivating the translational science workforce

We are proud of the CTSA Program’s accomplishments, but, like any scientific initiative, the program must actively evolve as new opportunities arise to realize its promise to improve science and health. For this reason, NCATS is soliciting feedback on how the program might be strengthened to meet its broad scientific mission of improving the efficiency and effectiveness of clinical translational science. We are seeking input on the program’s objectives, operations and outcomes, including those that may merit increased emphasis, those that may no longer be needed and those that the program is not currently addressing but should. We also are interested in ideas for measuring the impact of the program.

The CTSA Program—and NCATS more broadly—exists to develop innovative solutions to speed the process of turning discoveries in the laboratory, clinic and community into interventions that improve health. As I frequently say, it is of the utmost importance that we hear from those we hope will benefit from our work, such as academic scientists and physicians; patient and community groups; nonprofits; and the biotechnology, pharmaceutical and device industries.

You can provide input by responding to our Request for Information. The deadline for comments and feedback is October 25, 2019.

The evolution of the CTSA Program is critical for NCATS and translational science. We need your input to make it maximally effective, relevant and catalytic to improvements in human health.

Christopher P. Austin, M.D.
Director
National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences