Letter From the President
The National Institutes of Health have recently announced the possibility of a new institute called Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H) to accelerate biomedical breakthroughs with a high risk/high reward approach to real world problems. ACTS was invited to participate in a listening session where several stakeholders presented remarks to NIH leadership on the development of this new institute. In this presidential letter, I summarize to our community some of the ideas that our advocacy committee and board of directors shared with NIH.
Given the community that ACTS represents, we understand the opportunity embodied by ARPA-H. Clinical and translational science is broad in focus, proposes knowledge across diseases and is directed at solving problems that affect our communities. We know that working in interdisciplinary teams with a focus on with a focus on health equity and outcomes that matter to our communities is important for translating foundational research into solutions. Our clinical and translational science community has made incredible leaps forward in advancing discovery and solving health problems through a team science lens encompassing specialties as diverse as law and engineering. Working together, the biggest problems can be tackled. ARPA-H, through highly innovative approaches to treatments and cures, could be a mechanism to accelerate discoveries and their subsequent translation to practice.
To deliver on its mission, we recognize that it is critical for ARPA-H to have access to a trained workforce. The pipeline to develop clinical and translational research is lengthy, and the pool of clinical and translational researchers is relatively small. ACTS members are at the forefront of developing strategies for workforce development, continuously evaluating how we develop clinical and translational researchers that represent our communities, who are trained in contemporary (and future) methodologies, and who can contribute as team scientists. Ensuring inclusion and diversity in the research workforce is one of the ways to address health disparities, and we are even working with high school students to ensure a pipeline into research. We must begin now if we are thinking of expanding the existing workforce to deliver on new and novel ways to advance health outcomes.
ACTS supports the development of ARPA-H aligned with the National Institutes of Health. We specifically agree that this new agency will need to collaborate with all other NIH endeavors as well as the clinical and translational science community. To avoid unproductive duplication of efforts, we expect this agency will benefit from strong collaboration with our ACTS stakeholders. We are already established in local, regional, and national collaborations working on improving health. We can be particularly strong partners for bringing a national agency such as ARPA-H close to our local communities. We are strong partners with our community and prioritize diversity in all that we do, together. This will be essential to understand how innovation can help. The clinical and translational research workforce knows its local and regional communities and can provide the knowledge on what innovation is needed or wanted. This extends the role of the clinical and translational science community beyond recruiting patients into trials that may be developed by ARPA-H program managers. Our community has the knowledge and experience to help inform and drive innovation. To promote the focus on equity which with ARPA-H is being developed, it is crucial to include all voices. Solving the problems of our communities in innovative ways is the goal of the clinical and translational science researchers that ACTS represents. We are eager to come together with ARPA-H and work in new ways to achieve our common goals.
Karen G. Martinez-Gonzalez, MD, MSc
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.
Want to relive Translational Science 2021? Recordings from the scientific meeting are now available on the ACTS website!
Simply visit the Learning Library* to explore your recordings. Recordings are FREE for members, $10 for non-member early career investigators, and $15 for non-members.
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Journal of Clinical and Translational Science: The Official Journal of ACTS and CR Forum
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Webinar Recording Available
Storytelling through Data: Intersecting CTSA Evaluation & Communications, presented by Michelle Maclay, Luke Morales, and Christine Drury, is now available!
This session is part of a series co-sponsored by the ACTS Evaluation SIG and the American Evaluation Association (AEA) Translational Research Evaluation Topical Interest Group (TRE TIG).
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