What would you say if I told you we were on the cusp of transforming the way we do research here at UVA and across the Commonwealth? At the February State of the School presentation I did exactly that.
The School of Medicine invested in infrastructure to enable our UVA application for the Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) program, and iTHRIV — the integrated Translational Health Research Institute of Virginia — was formed for this effort. We recently received notice that the UVA application for the CTSA program had been funded by the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS). The NIH award consists of grants 1 UL1 TR003015 and 1 KL2 TR003016.
The group submitting the application, led by UVA, is a collaboration of public and private institutions across the Commonwealth of Virginia that promotes shared resources and best practices for health research, team science, community engagement, and innovation. It includes the University of Virginia, Inova Health System, Virginia Tech, and Carilion Clinic as partners, with the Center for Open Science and UVA’s Licensing & Ventures Group (LVG) as affiliates. (You can read the press release here.)
While this grant comes with a substantial monetary award (approximately $23 million over 5 years), what is truly exciting is the opportunity and access a CTSA designation provides our researchers and partners. The CTSA is an elite network of translational research teams across the country and we now have access to funding opportunities and resources available only to CTSA-designated organizations. Additionally, it provides wonderful training opportunities for our faculty, with programs like the iTHRIV Scholars program (which we wrote about here and here).
This notice of award could not have come at a better time as elements across the University are synchronizing nicely. The CTSA/iTHRIV’s mission is to use data to improve health. This is best illustrated in its leadership — Dr. Karen Johnston is an expert in clinical trials and a neurologist who specializes in caring for patients with acute stroke, and Dr. Donald Brown is a data scientist and systems engineer who was the founding director of the UVA Data Sciences Institute. UVA will also soon be turning the Data Science Institute into a school: This transformation brings with it a unique set of resources and assets. We also have a new University president, Jim Ryan, who has expressed interest in discovery, community, and service. This is excellent because it is exactly the focus of the CTSA research collaboration. We’re not just exploring science with scientists, but we are integrating with our communities to think about research. With this collaborative effort, our community stretches to a broad group of people and patients across the Commonwealth.
iTHRIV is up and running and we are excited to grow and continue to develop our programs. We have already been participating in national CTSA activities and are developing new collaborations across the country. In fact, as I write this, our representatives are in Washington, DC, attending the 2019 Spring CTSA Program Meeting (ACTS Translational Science Conference).
Thank you to Karen, Don, and their team for their dedication, hard work, and collaborative efforts in reaching this impressive milestone, and to our colleagues at Inova, Virginia Tech, Carilion Clinics, the Center for Open Science, and LVG for being such wonderful partners. It truly has been — and will continue to be — a team effort as we strive to improve the health of our patients across the Commonwealth. This is an excellent first step toward changing the way do research.
Though the grant just started, resources are already available. If you would like to begin a new research collaboration, or need access or support, check out the research concierge services by clicking here.
David S. Wilkes, MD
Dean, UVA School of Medicine
James Carroll Flippin Professor of Medical Science