Letter From the JCTS Editor: Time for Action
Once again, we face the reality of images of people being gunned down just trying to live their normal lives. We have seen this multiple times in Ukraine, a country far away, during recent months but it is a far too common event in our own country. In Buffalo, 10 people were taken away from their loved ones in a blink of an eye. Given the repeated occurrences of such events, it is time to address deeper underlying societal reasons. We need to ask ourselves who we are and what type of society we want to live in. It is almost unbelievable that only a few days after this event we are witnessing yet another massacre of elementary school children, their bright future taken away forever. These children and their families were robbed of the right to be safe in one of the most basic elements of society, a school. The increasing societal violence is a public health problem and solutions will require public efforts including education. It is therefore concerning that education about these matters seem to be increasingly questioned and quite frankly, society seems paralyzed in making any meaningful progress.
In many of the recent cases of mass violence minority groups have been targeted. In a historical perspective, minority groups, be it religious groups, racial or ethnic groups, or groups that have immigrated or sought a refuge from persecution elsewhere, have often been targets for channeling fear and anger in broad population groups. Fanning such flames have reflected attention from other societal issues in need of solutions. We need to understand what the factors are that fuel such actions and take appropriate actions. It is time to adopt the term “All of Us” also in this regard as a broad societal engagement is what it will take to get changes.
At the same time, there is reason for optimism. There is an opposite current in society with a genuine and deep focus on diversity, equity and inclusion. This concept is being increasingly embraced. By examining conditions that would lead to a better society and indeed better population health, we will increasingly be in a better position to address the many challenges that need to be overcome. These two currents operate at the same time and it is important for the clinical and translational science community to be engaged. JCTS recently issued a call for a thematic issue on this subject. While we still are in the process of handling submissions, it is already very clear to us that this theme has resonated deeply. We received a large number of manuscripts and once completed, this thematic issue will undoubtedly have significant impact.
Just a couple of weeks ago, JCTS published a paper by Timothy Murphy and colleagues from the University of Buffalo to develop a community dialogue to address deep going health disparities due to social determinants of health. The paper details four (4) annual conferences with participation of community members, public and non-profit representatives and academia. One working group on nutrition and food security has been active in conducting a food bank based at a church on the East Side of Buffalo. Efforts like these are important in helping to build coalitions and trust and to identify goals and projects relevant to the community. We hope that there will be many other examples like these throughout the country that can together weave a story of how we collectively work to build bridges and form partnerships and to overcome the negative societal currents.
Lars Berglund, M.D., Ph.D., FAHA
Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Clinical and Translational Science (JCTS)
Lasker Clinical Research Scholars Program
The National Institutes of Health, in partnership with the Lasker Foundation, is pleased to announce the 2022-23 Lasker Clinical Research Scholars Program. The program supports clinical researchers in the early stages of their careers, to promote their development to fully independent positions. Lasker Scholars are appointed as independent, tenure-track level investigators in the NIH Intramural Research Program for 5 years, followed by 3 years of funding at an extramural research institution (up to $500,000 direct costs per year) or continued appointment in the intramural program. Candidates must have a clinical doctoral degree and a professional license to practice in the United States, and cannot already have obtained tenure at a research institution. The application deadline is June 24, 2022.
More information can be obtained at the Lasker Scholar website, or by contacting Dr. Chuck Dearolf at LaskerScholar@nih.gov.
News From the Hill: May 25, 2022
Thus far, House and Senate appropriations have stuck to their ambitious timeline for moving Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 spending bills forward to passage and enactment. Both chambers have been hosting hearings with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other agencies for funding feedback and priorities discussion. . Both chambers have also invited outside organizations to provide testimony of funding recommendations and key programs as well, and CCTS has actively participated in this process.
Read more on the ACTS Advocacy page.
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