Letter From the JCTS Editor: Déjà vu All Over Again
The philosophical remarks of Yogi Berra are almost universally useful to reflect on, and our current situation is no exception. Our reprieve from the pandemic seems to be short-lived as the COVID delta variant is tightening its grip. It is even worse to think that other, perhaps even more infectious, variants may already be developing. I think we can be grateful that some 70% of the >12 yr population now is vaccinated as one can imagine the horrific consequences if this would hit a completely unprotected population. However, the situation remains serious for the many who still are unvaccinated, including every child below the age of 12 years. The need to protect these vulnerable individuals is immense but this central concept has almost drowned in a debate about specific actions like mask-wearing, accessibility to businesses, travel, what to do with schools etc. Hopefully we can keep our focus on why such actions are important and on what we can do to protect our children and vulnerable fellow citizens.
Against this background, news about JCTS does not quite seem to be of the same significance. Yet, the journal is maintaining its strong trajectory and we receive many well-written, innovative and informative manuscripts. Given the current problems of communicating scientific gains to a broader public, clearly illustrated during the pandemic, a recent paper by Kimberly McGhee and colleagues from the Medical University of South Carolina is in many senses newsworthy. They describe the creation of an amateur press corps to cover breaking science. Biomedical graduate students and postdoctoral fellows have written news stories and press releases about recent high-impact research articles. Over a 5 year period, more than 100 press releases have resulted in more than a half million views. The growing need to enhance Implementation Science has attracted a number of reports. Kathleen Stevens and colleagues report on the experience from the Texas CTSA institutions to bootstrap resources to build capacity. In several papers from the University of Wisconsin, Andrew Quanbeck and colleagues describe an innovative model to advance innovations in implementation science, while Betsy Rolland and colleagues report on implementation science constructs to help researchers design, build, test, and disseminate interventions that meet the needs of multiple stakeholders. Barbara Bierer and colleagues from Harvard Medical School and Columbia University address another important issue – ethical aspects regarding the compensation of patients participating in clinical trials. In their report, they address practical and fair payment strategies to advance inclusion, the additional barrier of ancillary medical costs, and potential unintended consequences of payment. It is exciting to see the broad spectrum of the reports, the important issues covered and the opportunities to leverage innovations and advances across many institutions.
As mentioned in the previous letter, we have continued to strengthen the JCTS Editorial Board. As a result of the recent request for nominations, I am very happy to introduce three new Board members: Megan Falsetta, University of Rochester Medical Center; Thomas Pearson, University of Florida Health Science Center; and Laura Riolobos, University of Washington. We warmly welcome our new colleagues and will quickly make use of their talents.
In closing, it seems useful to return to Yogi Berra and some of his famous statements. As a scientist, I think it is helpful to remember that you can observe a lot by just watching. The hope might be that if we can turn knowledge from observations into actions or at least a solid hypothesis, we might be a good part of the way towards a goal. In the world of COVID there is always something to watch and learn from – this is in fact a fundamental message of the JCTS COVID thematic issue. If we applied Yogi’s insight in a broader setting and learn from experiences in other countries and settings, we might indeed shorten the pain.
Lars Berglund, M.D., Ph.D., FAHA
Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Clinical and Translational Science (JCTS)
Translational Science 2022: Save the Date
ACTS and its partners are looking forward to connecting in-person at Translational Science: Transformational Translational Science: Opportunities for Success, taking place April 20-22, 2022. Join your peers in Chicago, Illinois to explore research that transforms existing scientific paradigms!
Additional details, including abstract and scientific programming submission information and registration, will be available in the coming months.
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News From the Hill: August 25, 2021
The Senate opted to stay in session for an extra week during the August recess to advance an infrastructure package and the framework for a budget package. With the extra time, the Senate also considered three of its annual spending bills; Agriculture-FDA, Military Construction & VA (MilCon-VA), and Energy & Water. These bills provided increases for medical research, public health, and patient care programs, though not at the same levels as the House.
Read more on the ACTS Advocacy page.
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Journal of Clinical and Translational Science
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