Letter From the President
As I hand the reigns of ACTS over to Dr. Karen Martinez-Gonzalez, I find myself humbled by our community, and inspired by our new leaders. Last week, we enjoyed an incredible virtual conference planned and led by Dr. Felicity Enders. The power of the plenary sessions, the engaged conversations, the high impact science, and celebrations of achievement all highlight what extraordinary impacts clinical and translational researchers have on the world around us. What struck me most is how decades of strategic thinking, laying foundations, and building healthy interdisciplinary teams have been essential to the ecosystem in which we can create and test successful solutions to the major health challenges of our time.
As the turmoil of the pandemic continues its ebb and flow, I find myself carefully evaluating what has and has not worked well. There have been some major advances and some real challenges. Common to the successes are trusted teams working together, with resources adapting as needed to achieve a greater purpose of changing the trajectory of the pandemic. The culture that allows such an agile response is decades in the making, from small investments to seed collaborations among specialties to major initiatives to streamline monolithic regulatory pathways. During our conference, I learned about new ways of doing trials, different methods of engaging our communities, creative uses of big and complex data, and so much more about how we are making science better.
To counterbalance the astounding progress and energizing dynamism of our conference, I fear that some of our failures are also systemic and rooted in our culture. Individuals and institutions continue to favor those projects in which they hold primacy, and academic recognition and reward continues to be focused on the “I” in PI. Every year at Translational Science, I am disappointed to hear about how collaborative scientists struggle to navigate academic pathways designed to reward individual achievement. I continue to be frustrated that there are so few academic training programs and opportunities for clinical research professionals. I also remain amazed by the number of conversations about how administratively difficult it is to collaborate, but that it is always easier to collaborate outside an institution than within it. I truly hope that the momentum the clinical and translational research community has built towards team science and collaborative problem solving continues, that we remain firmly committed to being better together, and that our persistence will win out.
It is in pursuit of persistence that I turn to you now. The past year has seen a lot of change, including to ACTS. As an organization, we have reimagined our conference, we have revitalized our virtual presence, and we have invested in our special interest groups. Our journal continues to thrive, and benefits to members continue to grow. Informing each area of growth is our strategic plan, which my predecessors laid out and your current board continues to review and update as we look to the future. By working together on our common goal of making clinical and translational research better, whether through advocacy, education, or research, we can make positive change. Our conference theme was about making change - breaking barriers and building bridges. But, if we do not continue to cross the bridges and pass through the barriers, have we made progress? My parting plea to you, and also my pledge to you, is to persist in working to dismantle racism and inequity in clinical and translational research, and in working towards a fair and equitable future where health for all is a core value our society.
Thank you for your support this past year, and I look forward to reconnecting with you throughout the coming year at our webinars and events. Don’t forget to mark your calendars for Translational Science 2022.
Christopher John Lindsell, PhD
Translational Science 2021: Thanks for Attending!
Translational Science 2021 took place virtually March 30 - April 2.
Thank you to everyone that attended and shared! Session recordings from the event will be available to attendees on the virtual event platform until 11:59 p.m. EDT on Sunday, May 2.
Stay tuned for information about Translational Science 2022 soon!
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Journal of Clinical and Translational Science
The Data Science in Clinical and Translational Research thematic issue of the Journal of Clinical and Translational is now available online!
Visit our website for more information on the journal and how you can submit a manuscript. Submit your article today to be featured in future issues of JCTS!
Translational Science Today
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