Letter From the President
So much has changed in 2020. Our daily norms have been challenged forever. As the long-term reality of COVID-19 sets in, and as society comes to terms with the next iteration of politics and policies, we must remain attentive to the major issues of our times: racism, inequity, and distrust of science. We cannot allow time to smooth over the stark reality that even as technology accelerates our pace of discovery, we lack the capacity to effectively and equitably apply those discoveries to improve the health of all. There is, in this moment, a singular opportunity to create lasting and meaningful change for good - if we are willing to be bold about it.
Daring to tackle big problems takes courage and purpose. Not to mention, daring solutions are disruptive by nature, yet we are more conditioned to reject disruption than embrace it. Instead of lamenting the loss of perceived normalcy, is it instead time to leverage the tumult of our age to overcome the inertial barriers and generate solutions to these major issues of racism, inequity and distrust of science? The time to layer in structural change is right now, as we rebuild amid the chaos. In the process, it is incumbent upon us to develop systems that hold us accountable. ACTS has carefully deliberated how we intend to ensure lasting change in our organization, and we invite each of you to join us on this journey.
We believe that change must be systemic, and that sustained efforts are required. We also recognize that race, inequity and distrust of science are intertwined. Public trust can be built through expanded scientific literacy, and engagement with the community can build pipelines for a more representative and diverse workforce. While we are engaged in much work to build diversity into the healthcare workforce and to create a more diverse investigator pool, much less attention has been paid to clinical research professionals, data scientists, regulatory specialists, research administrators, and others in our broad research teams. To help bridge between the community and the broader professions engaged in clinical research, we are opening Translational Science 2021 to high school audiences. We are identifying topics and presentations for inclusion that will provide a rich experience for students and teachers, and that will help a diverse audience identify a pathway towards clinical research for their own education and careers. In addition to opening up TS21 and being purposeful about highlighting career pathways, we have charged each of our Special Interest Groups to develop mechanisms for increasing the pipeline of students wanting to engage in their contributing specialty, whether it be biostatistics, evaluation, or implementation science. ACTS is committed to helping the SIGs in this work, and to recognizing excellence among those who are leading diversity initiatives. We have added two new awards to our portfolio, one for contributing to the diversity and inclusiveness of the clinical and translational research workforce, and one for addressing health equity through partnership and innovation. Nominations for these and our other awards are due no later than Friday, December 18. Learn more about the the TS21 Awards on the ACTS website.
These early, practical steps will require nurturing and growing. We also need to continue identifying and enacting strategies to address diversity. To ensure sustained emphasis, we are establishing a committee on diversity and equity in clinical and translational research that will report to the board of ACTS. The committee’s main charge is to evaluate our progress, as an organization, toward our goals of embedding principles of equity and diversity in all that we do. Each activity supported by ACTS, from our webinar series to the annual meeting, will be evaluated through this lens, and we will hold ourselves accountable to you for sustained change. I remain humbled by the overwhelming support of our community and the ACTS board for driving these initiatives forward, even at a time of uncertainty. As I re-emphasize our commitment to ending racism and inequity in clinical and translational research, and to building public trust in science, I am encouraged that together, with sustained focus, we can and will create enduring change.
Christopher John Lindsell, PhD
Join us on Wednesday, November 18 at 12:00 pm CST for "A Practical Approach on How to Address Health Disparities in Clinical and Translational Research Proposals." In this 90 minute workshop, Lourdes Soto de Laurido, Ed.D., MPHE will share a Health Disparity Research Methodology Checklist intended to help junior researchers identify the core domains to rightfully address health disparities in proposals.
Click here to register. ACTS institutional and individual members can attend this live webinar for free. There is a $10 cost for non-member early career investigators, and $15 cost for non-members.
This webinar is part of of the TS20 Online Experience series. Click here to view additional upcoming webinars.
Translational Science 2021 - Submit Your Abstracts
Translational Science 2021 is currently accepting abstract presentations! Don't miss your chance to make an impact in your field by showcasing your work within the clinical and translational science community!
Abstract presentations are due Wednesday, December 2. Visit our website for more information.
Journal of Clinical and Translational Science
Volume 4 / Issue 5 of the Journal of Clinical and Translational is now available online!
Submit your article today to be featured in future issues of JCTS! Please also visit the JCTS website for information on our themed issue related to Design, Development, Evaluation, and Dissemination of Team Science Interventions in Clinical and Translational Research.
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