Letter From the President
Looking forward at a time of uncertainty is a challenge. It is unknowable what will happen a month from now, let alone in six months or a year. For many, it is also difficult to focus on problems unrelated to COVID-19. Yet, soon we hope to have developed solutions that will limit the risk from SARS-CoV-2, and so our priorities will shift again. Despite the immediate pressures that are affecting our daily lives, and the intractable problem of an uncertain future, we must all attempt to project what lies ahead so we can sustain and advance our lines of research. Even if our programs did not pivot to focus on issues associated with the pandemic, our research environments have forever changed. With change comes the opportunity to think forward and develop and implement strategies for increasing the benefit of our research to human health. Reflecting on my own observations from the past few months, there are several strategies that have stood out as essential facilitators of clinical and translational research.
Beyond intense work in our own labs, clinics, and teams, the global scientific response to the pandemic has demonstrated that we can work together – across disciplines, institutions, and borders. We have shown that we are capable of quality and quantity, quickly. The greatest enabling factor, I believe, is teamwork. Everyone has pulled together to tackle a common problem. No matter the task at hand, from navigating regulatory agencies to preparing a data management system, the whole research community is pitching in to help. Strategies designed to replicate this passion for solving a common problem in and across diverse research teams should help to harness everyone’s best contribution, and the science of team science provides us many tools to achieve just that. Team science is well positioned to innovate and solve the many challenges facing clinical and translational researchers today.
The innovations that have already facilitated our successful response to conducting clinical research during the pandemic highlight the importance of making our studies accessible, the consequence of which is to aid in recruiting a diverse population. The rapid evolution and now almost universal use of eConsent, a consequence of isolation protocols and quarantine, enabled access to the technologies for enrolling and consenting patients absolutely anywhere and in many languages. To support outpatient trials and avoid the need to go to a pharmacy, numerous services are able to ship investigational products across the country to the participant’s door with same or next day delivery. Studies that require labs prior to initiating study medications have found ways for participants to collect and ship their own biospecimens, or ways to deploy distant research professionals to a participant’s home to conduct an evaluation and collect specimens. The growing number of low-cost electronic health monitors further opens up opportunities for rethinking how clinical research is done. By taking the study to the participants, there are ways to engage the community that extend well beyond our classical designs and recruitment plans. Increasing access to research by a diverse population in rural, suburban and urban environments, one that is reflective of those at risk, should be a central strategy in all of our clinical research. In response to the unique circumstances of the pandemic, we have demonstrated that we can move beyond traditional methods and make studies easily accessible for all participants.
The rapid dissemination of innovations to facilitate research, and the massive community response, were assisted in large part by our networks. We have relied deeply on relationships with other investigators and institutions to work rapidly – whether on study design, participant enrollment, contracting, or regulatory oversight. It takes time and engagement to nurture those relationships, and we are often advised that scientific meetings are excellent networking opportunities. Indeed, people run seminars on the topic. Today, virtual environments provide an outlet for scientific dissemination, but have been inefficient for discourse and debate, and terrible for bumping into colleagues to refresh a collaboration or share ideas. While technology platforms catch up to these needs, ACTS is committed to providing resources and opportunities to help you nurture your existing networks and to build new ones. Our new Social Media Task Force is developing approaches for leveraging technology for interaction. Our virtual webinar series is designed to cross communities and introduce teams and topics that might otherwise not connect. Our Special Interest Groups provide vibrant and welcoming communities. And, as well as being the nation’s premier conference for sharing innovations in clinical and translational research and for the science of team science, Translational Science 2021 is being redesigned with engagement and networking front and center – building bridges and breaking barriers. Mark your calendars for March 30 - April 2, 2021. I look forward to seeing you there.
Christopher John Lindsell, PhD
Join us Thursday, September 17 at 1:00 pm EST for "Teaching Translational Science: Examples from the Field of Dissemination and Implementation." In this one-hour session, Rachel C. Shelton, ScD, MPH and Aaron L. Leppin, MD, MS will reflect on their experiences teaching dissemination and implementation science to diverse groups.
ACTS institutional and individual members can attend this live webinar for free. There is a $25 cost for non-members.
Maternal and Pediatric Precision in Therapeutics (MPRINT) Hub
NICHD encourages applicants for a new program—Maternal and Pediatric Precision in Therapeutics (MPRINT) Hub — to aggregate knowledge and data around pediatric and maternal pharmacology, making it available to inform research and clinical practice, with a particular focus on pharmacometrics and clinical trial design to inform precision dosing.
MPRINT will serve as a national resource for conducting and fostering therapeutics-focused research in obstetrics, lactation, and pediatrics while enhancing inclusion of people with disabilities.
Investigators with diverse expertise in pharmacometrics, clinical trial design and precision medicine are needed and will be supported through two Funding Opportunity Announcements with applications due on November 30, 2020.
ACTS Career Center
Spend less time searching and more time applying to relevant positions with the new, immersive "Job Search" feature on the ACTS Career Center. The new layout allows you to view job search results and job details on one screen, making searches faster. Come see the new design today and explore the new features!
ACTS members receive a 50% discount on the site--use code ACTSMEMBER to save!
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Journal of Clinical and Translational Science
Volume 4 / Issue 4 of the Journal of Clinical and Translational Science is now available online!
JCTS's mission is to provide a forum for the rapid communication of topics of interest and relevance to the large and diverse community of clinical and translational scientists with the goal of improving the efficiency with which health needs inform research and new diagnostics, therapies, and preventive measures reach the public. The Association for Clinical and Translational Science has partnered with the American Physician Scientists Association (APSA) and the Clinical Research Forum (CRF) to support the growth and development of JCTS.
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.
Translational Science Today
New addiction and pain prevention center aims to rally...
UAB's Center for Addiction and Pain Prevention and Intervention will conduct research that can be developed and translated into better treatments for addiction and pain. Written by Matt Windsor Media Contact: Savannah Koplon Even in the midst of...