Thursday, April 1

All activities take place in the Eastern Time Zone (ET) unless otherwise specified.

11:15 - 11:45 AM ACTS Business Meeting
12:00 - 1:00 PM ACTS Ambassadors Introduction
  • A.) Introduction to program
  • B.) Introduction to translational science
  • C.) Introduction to ACTS

Please note that the ACTS Ambassadors Program sessions are for registered high school classes and students only and are closed to other conference attendees. For information on similar programs in the future, contact

12:00 - 1:00 PM Scientific Programming
  • Panel Discussion: Amplifying the CTSA Impact: Workforce Development Strategies Beyond the Consortium

    Presenters: Brenda Eakin, MS, Karen Weavers, M.Ed., Vidya Iyer, MD, CPI, Enid Garcia-Rivera, MD, MPH, Robert Sege, MD, PhD, and Elias Samuels, PhD

    Promoting effective research requires CTSA hubs to engage in novel workforce development initiatives that extend beyond the Consortium. Given the scope of the future workforce and the need to move health research from bench to bedside, no single hub can contribute to this mission in isolation. Recent efforts to ensure reliability and replicability of data show how important it is for institutions to form collaborations that promote access to training resources and best practices developed by CTSAs.

    Join representatives from the University of Michigan, the Mayo Clinic, and Tufts CTSI as they describe and discuss successful collaborations between institutions.

  • Panel Discussion: CR Forum: Broadly Engaged Team Science: Building Trust With Diverse Groups

    Presenters: Andrea Van Hook, BA, Harry Selker, MD, MSPH, and Pamela Davis, MD, 

    More information to come.

  • Panel Discussion: The Role of Clinical and Translational Science in Advancing the Learning Health System (LHS)

    Presenters: Timothy Beebe, PhD, Doug Easterling, PhD, Gary Rosenthal, MD, Don McClain, MD, Ilya Ivlev, MD, PhD, MBI, and Elisheva Danan MD, MPH

    The Learning Health System (LHS) has emerged as a powerful framework for improving the quality and value of healthcare and generating real world evidence of treatment effectiveness. During this session, we will build upon the Institute of Medicine definition of the LHS  ("a system in which, science, informatics, incentives, and culture are aligned for continuous improvement and innovation, with best practices seamlessly embedded in the delivery process and new knowledge captured as an integral by-product of the delivery experience") to propose the core elements of a LHS and enabling factors needed to create and sustain a LHS as an organizational framework. We will also review the role that translational research programs can play in promoting a LHS to catalyze a health system’s transformation efforts.  This session will address how LHS research compares to traditional health services research, core LHS competencies, different models of embedding LHS research within health care delivery systems, and metrics of success.  The seminar will share examples from Wake Forest and University of Minnesota on supporting and fostering the LHS framework. We will also highlight two examples of embedded LHS research being led by scholars enrolled in two of the 11 Learning Health Systems Centers of Excellence K12 Programs, funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute funded Centers of Excellence (U. of Minnesota and Oregon).

  • Panel Discussion: Prepped for Success: Initiating Collaborations with Statisticians Pre- and Post- COVID

    Presenters: Leah Welty, PhD, Jareen Meinzen-Derr, PhD, MPH, Robert Oster, PhD, Lori Lyn Price, MAS, MLA, Jodi Lapidus, PhD, and Ann Brearley, PhD

    For new investigators, initiating a collaboration with a statistician may seem a bit uncomfortable, even scary, due to not knowing what to expect. Post-COVID, it may be even harder to know what to expect. However, the COVID pandemic has forced us to make adaptations that, in some ways, have made collaborations with statisticians easier, with the ability to access expertise not only locally but also nationally (and even globally). Regardless of whether the meeting takes place in-person or remotely, a successful and productive collaboration can be built upon a successful first meeting, which includes discussing and clearly defining both the goals of the study and how the statistician and the investigator will work together to achieve those goals. This panel discussion will provide tips for a successful first meeting and for further collaboration, as well as set forth the roles and responsibilities for both the researcher and the statistician.

  • Panel Discussion: Accelerating Large-Scale Research: Methods for Creative Brainstorming and Strategic Action Planning

    Presenters: Elizabeth LaPensee, PhD and Aalap Doshi, MS

    Interdisciplinary collaboration is widely considered essential to addressing complex scientific and societal problems. Funding agencies are increasingly seeking team-based approaches to tackling research questions, and the Michigan Institute for Clinical & Health Research at the University of Michigan responded by deploying an initiative that encourages and supports the development of large-scale grants (e.g. NIH U- and P-series mechanisms). Attend this session to learn how to leverage various aspects of design thinking and strategic action planning intended to drive teams through stages of ideation all the way to group consensus around opportunities to pursue, including realistic next steps. We will discuss our aim to foster new methods of team thinking and doing that allow collaborative networks to create a shared research vision; to commit reasonable time and resources to advancing the research and partnerships; and to ultimately develop compelling large-scale grant applications to fund their big ideas and synergistic efforts.

12:00 - 1:15 PM Core Activity:
  • Speed Mentoring Session: Part 2

    Speed mentoring allows mentees to connect with five senior scientists over the course of an hour for mini-discussions. Speed mentoring is a great way to expand your network, ask pointed questions, get advice about finding resources, seek candid feedback, and chat informally about life in research with people who know the ropes. This session is only open to pre-registered attendees. 

1:00 - 1:15 PM Break
1:15 - 2:15 PM Scientific Programming:
  • Panel Discussion: A Novel Online Course in Translational Science Offered by NCATS: Course Design, Content, and Evaluation Results

    Presenters: Jessica Faupel-Badger, PhD, MPH, Amanda Vogel, PhD, MPH, and Shadab Hussain, PhD

    The NCATS Education Branch is creating new education opportunities aimed at advancing understanding of translational science principles.In this panel, we highlight use of the case study method as an approach for teaching these emerging concepts and detail our first online translational science course, piloted in 2020 and open to the scientific community.The course teaches key principles of translational science including novelty, process innovation and efficiency, acceleration of timelines, and boundary-crossing partnerships, and highlights how these principles have been operationalized in a real-world project. The specific case examined the development of a compound to treat advanced metastatic cancer that is now in phase 1 clinical trials. The course was evaluated through pre- and post-course student surveys (n=100) and analyses showed significant improvements in translational science knowledge and alignment towards team science attitudes in translational research. Additional course outcomes and future directions for translational science education will be discussed.

  • Workshop: Engaging Clinical Trial Participants through Effective Conversations

    Presenters: Brian Sostek, BA and Megan Larson

    A well run informed consent process, whether done in person or online, can positively affect participant recruitment, retention, engagement, honesty, consistency, and accuracy. It can also ensure their complete and thorough understanding of the trial itself and their role in it. While efficiency in the consent process is always a concern in the short term, in the long run, it’s always worth investing the time and energy with your participants to establish rapport in the true sense of the word: a close and harmonious relationship, in which the people concerned understand each other's feelings or ideas and communicate well.

    In this workshop, NarrativePros leads an energizing, enjoyable and--most importantly--applicable dive into their tried and true techniques for having productive conversations that establish the kind of engagement, trust, and commitment every researcher wants from their participants. Through lecture and interactive exercises, we’ll apply improvisation techniques, intentional listening skills, and perspective shifting approaches to show you how to end up with truly informed participants.

  • Panel Discussion: Making Dissemination and Implementation Research Ubiquitous in Translational Science

    Presenters: Kathleen Stevens, RN, EdD, FAAN, Jonathan Tobin, PhD, Aaron Leppin, MD, Jane E. Mahoney, MD, and Andrew Quanbeck, PhD

    Health sciences seek to turn research knowledge into practice and benefit; this session raises awareness of the potential of Dissemination and Implementation (D&I) Sciences for improving population health. D&I sciences evolved rapidly in the past decade and have experienced a recent surge. Developments are occurring in theories, frameworks, methods, study design, analytics, standards of rigor, and application to problems.

    This session focuses on these emerging fields, examining D&I sciences across the entire translational science spectrum. It explores state of D&I sciences, benefits of D&I in every stage of translation, and expansion of D&I capacity through workforce development.

    Led by members from the NCATS Dissemination & Implementation (D&I) Research Working Group, the session encourages participants to increase impact of their research using D&I approaches that build bridges, span barriers, and link evidence to practice and impact. Rapid fire topics offer an overview, drill down on each stage of translational science, address scientific workforce capacity and team science, and envision the future of D&I applied to translational research. Discussions operationalize concepts through examples, including COVID-19, journal articles, and resources for further depth.

  • Panel Discussion: Dimension Reduction and Feature Selection Methods: Reducing the Complexity

    Presenters: Lauren Balmert, PhD and Erika Helgeson, PhD

    Methods for reducing dimensionality and identifying important variables among a large number of predictors have become increasingly important in the areas of omics, health, and behavioral and social science research. The evolution of these statistical methods has impacted how we analyze data and interpret findings.

    This session will provide an introduction to statistical and machine learning methods for dimension reduction, variable selection, and classification methods. Emphasis will be placed on the types of research questions that can be answered, advantages over traditional methods, and interpretation of results. Primary topics will include: principal components analysis, orthogonal partial least squares, discriminant analysis, lasso regression, and random forests. Presenters will illustrate these methodologies with real data applications.

  • Panel Discussion: CCTS: Health Policy in the New Administration

    Presenter: William Lowe, MD, Dale Dirks, and Dane Christianses, MBA

    This session will feature senior staff from the Senate and House committees responsible for clinical and translational research funding. They will discuss the Biden Administration’s health policy priorities and how the Senate and the House are likely to respond.

2:15 - 2:45 PM ACTS Ambassadors Q/A Session
  • A.) Education with TL1 scholar mentor
  • B.) Interaction with panelists/presenters from previous ACTS session

Please note that the ACTS Ambassadors Program sessions are for registered high school classes and students only and are closed to other conference attendees. For information on similar programs in the future, contact

2:15 - 2:45 PM Break
2:45 - 3:45 PM Facilitated Networking 
  • Stem Cell Therapy: Recent advances make regenerative medicine a real treatment opportunity 
  • Precision Nutrition: What and when we eat and who can access food may impact the body as much as medicine.
  • Pain, Opioids, & Addiction: Pain continues to be elusive, while opioids and addiction remain concerns. What should we do differently? 
  • Digital Health, AI, & Machine Learning: More data, more insights, more need for context.
  • COVID, Mindfulness, and Resiliency: Navigating life through COVID while caring for yourself so you can care for those who need you.
  • Mentoring Mosaics: Building your mentoring network at the junior, mid-career, and senior levels.
3:45 - 4:00 PM Break
4:00 - 5:00 PM  Core Activities:
  • Scholar Career Pathways

    This event, designed for students, fellows and early career attendees, will feature the opportunity to talk one on one in a relaxed reception-like atmosphere with experts from diverse fields of translational science.

  • Help! I'm Mid-Career and Stuck

    This session is for anyone who is mid career and either has less mentorship than they want or who has faced career challenges. Here a group of six experienced tenured faculty will define the problem, share their experiences and answer questions from the audience.

4:00 - 5:00 PM Scientific Programming:
  • Panel Discussion: Community-Academic Partnerships to Train Community Health Workers and Promotoras in Research

    Presenters: Susan Murphy, ScD, OTR, Gustavo Loera, and Irvin (PeDro) Cohen, Ed.D.

    Regardless of whether they have formal roles on study teams or informal roles of supporting research in communities where they work, community health workers and promotoras (CHW/Ps) are vital in the implementation of rigorous research in communities. The importance of the role of CHW/Ps has increased during the COVID-19 pandemic where they help to foster trust in communities to support health and research efforts. This session will describe an NIH-funded project from three CTSA-funded institutions in which the goal is to develop, demonstrate and disseminate competency-based research training for CHW/Ps. A community-academic partnership model will be described as a main method of training using peer Champions as the trainers in communities. A planned, broadly accessible toolbox of resources including culturally- and linguistically-appropriate materials will be discussed. Community partners from the universities associated with this project will discuss how training can be applied in their specific settings and potential adaptations to training in the field. Lastly, the planned dissemination of the training and toolbox using a newly-established network of community advisory boards at universities around the nation will be highlighted.

  • Panel Discussion: Approaches to Data Discovery: Connecting Researchers Through Data

    Presenters: Nicole Contaxis, MLIS, Kristi Holmes, PhD, Alisa Surkis, PhD, MLS, Sara Gonzales, MLIS Terrie Wheeler, and Peter Oxley

    Across the CTSA consortium a number of approaches have been taken towards facilitating the formation of translational research teams. This panel focuses on data discovery as an approach towards connecting researchers through data, as well as empowering those researchers to share and locate data for re-use. NYU Langone Health, Weill Cornell Medicine, and Northwestern University have taken different approaches to improving data discovery at their institutions, and are members of the Data Discovery Collaboration (DDC), a cross-institutional, platform-agnostic collaboration with the aim of enhancing the discovery of data in order to maximize its value. The objective of this panel is to present the approaches, successes, and challenges of each institution, and to discuss how the DDC enhances each of these institutional efforts. The panelists will also discuss the structure of and requirements for joining the DDC, innovations that will be made possible by this collaboration, and thoughts on upcoming challenges.

  • Non-CME Panel Discussion: CR Forum Industry Roundtable Part 2: Engagement of Industry in Clinical Research

    Presenter: Anantha Shekhar, MD, PhD and Andrea Van Hook, BA

    The Industry Roundtable brings together researchers from academic medical health centers, industry partners, and advocacy organizations to discuss and advance non-proprietary issues relating to drug and device development, evaluative and comparative effectiveness research, and the dissemination of knowledge about clinical research findings. In this session, industry representatives and academic health center researchers will present best practices and commentary on developing diverse and collaborative teams and forging industry/academic research partnerships.


Tuesday, March 30

View the schedule of activities for Tuesday.

Wednesday, March 31

View the schedule of activities for Wednesday.

Friday, April 2

View the schedule of activities for Friday.

Co-Supported by: