The Institute of Clinical and Translational Sciences (ICTS) has been the transformational academic home and advocate for clinical and translational science in Missouri and southern Illinois since its inception in 2007. We will build upon the three foundational pillars of infrastructure, educational programs, and team collaborations to transform research culture and practice at Washington University (WU), our BJC HealthCare system, and our regional partner institutions at Saint Louis University (SLU), the University of Health Sciences and Pharmacy in St. Louis, and the University of Missouri-Columbia (MU). Our ICTS aligns precisely with the Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) goals of developing innovative solutions to improve the efficiency, quality, and impact of translational science processes for turning observations in the laboratory, clinic, and community into practical interventions that improve the health of individuals and the public. To develop innovative solutions to improve health in St Louis, our region, and around the world, we will expand our consortium’s fundamental strengths in genomics, dissemination and implementation science, community engagement in urban and rural environments, informatics, and multiscale data integration into fundamental and clinical research. We will pursue five overall aims.
We will enhance our strong base of existing research education and training programs, expand and diversify our workforce, and promote team science approaches to conduct and translate high-impact research. We will tailor our efforts to individual needs; promote the formation of transdisciplinary, interinstitutional, and interhub teams; rigorously assess our programs; and expand our institutional and regional strengths in genomics, dissemination and implementation, and community engagement (Translational Workforce Development).
Active participation of targeted populations in clinical and translational research advances knowledge and improves health. We will implement research discoveries that improve community health by collaborating with patient advocates, developing new partnerships, advancing the science of community/stakeholder engagement and collaboration, dismantling barriers to integrate research findings into clinical practice, and capitalizing on our existing strengths in implementation science (Collaboration and Engagement).
Healthcare systems must consider patients as more than individuals with specific diseases at single time points, and recognize the cumulative effects of complex biological, environmental, and socioeconomic factors from pre-conception through advanced age. The ICTS will address health disparities and differences in disease manifestations across the lifespan and among special populations, identify challenges that differentially affect urban and rural populations, catalyze the formation of transdisciplinary teams, and evaluate the clinical, community, and entrepreneurial outcomes of our work (Integration).
We will facilitate the development of new methodological approaches to solve key analytical and logistical roadblocks in translational science. We will adopt and apply best practices from industry and other CTSA hubs to streamline institutional processes for conducting efficient and high-quality multicenter clinical trials. We will explore and implement innovative methods to engage stakeholders and research participants in clinical trials, thereby targeting different populations, life stages, and health states (Methods and Processes).
We will apply informatics tools to advance clinical and translational science by ensuring the interoperability of current and archived data sets, implementing new informatics technologies to enhance investigator productivity, and promoting the formation of interdisciplinary research teams (Informatics).
Impact: The ICTS will leverage the robust resources of WU and its partners to achieve national CTSA goals, advance clinical and translational science, and improve human health. Successful completion of these five aims will transform translational research, accelerate the dissemination of new innovations, strengthen and diversify our workforce, and address the social determinants that contribute to inequity in healthcare.