Miami CTSI

CTSA Program Holds National Fall Meeting Where Miami CTSI Showcases Innovative Initiatives


Last week, CTSA Program members gathered in Washington, D.C., for the 2018 Fall CTSA Program Meeting, with representatives from most of the 58 Hubs across the country.

The meeting kicked off with a networking and poster session and announcement of the Great Team Science Awards. The Firefighter Cancer Initiative, led by Erin Kobetz, Ph.D., M.P.H., professor of medicine and public health sciences at the Miller School of Medicine and Associate Director of the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, was one of ten awardees selected from 170 entries.

The initiative was honored for its team-oriented approach, spanning all phases of the translational spectrum, aimed at understanding the excess burden of cancer among Florida firefighters and improving their health by educating, screening, developing risk reduction practices, and policy-making.

The Miami CTSI also presented a poster highlighting two innovative initiatives that showcase our commitment to culturalizing health sciences: a tool that predicts race-specific DNA methylation values using sparse data sets (J. Sunil Rao, Ph.D., professor and Director, Division of Biostatistics, Interim Chair, Department of Public Health Sciences, Miller School of Medicine, & Hang Zhang, M.S.), and a model to train community health workers in patient-centered outcomes research that has been broadly adopted in Florida that is now expanding to three other states (Olveen Carrasquillo, M.D., M.P.H., professor of medicine and public health sciences, Chief of the Division of General Internal Medicine, Miller School of Medicine, and Brendaly Rodriguez, M.A., C.P.H.).

On the second day, the agenda featured overall program updates and presentations that included the common metrics 2016 report, SMARTIRB, Accruals to Clinical Trials, NCATS Division of Preclinical Innovation, CD2H, Trial Innovation Network, and more.

In addition, NCATS Division of Clinical Innovation Director, Michael Kurilla, M.D., Ph.D., highlighted that both Miami CTSI PI, Ralph Sacco, M.D., professor and chair of neurology and the Olemberg Family Chair of Neurological Disorders at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, and Michigan Institute for Clinical & Health Research PI George Mashour, M.D., Ph.D., were elected to the National Academy of Medicine.

Other key takeaways from the meeting included:

  • The NIH budget for federal FY 2019 saw a $2 billion (5.4%) increase over FY 2018; the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences budget increased by $64 million (8.6%); the Clinical and Translational Science Award – a separate appropriation – increased by $17 million (3.1%).
  • Appropriation language from both the House of Representatives and the Senate indicate Congress’s recognition of the value of the CTSA program and its impact on health disparities and rural health outcomes.
  • NCATS is leading several preclinical collaborations as part of NIH’s Helping to End Addiction Long-term (HEAL) Initiative, a trans-agency effort to speed scientific solutions to stem the national opioid public health crisis. New NCATS project being developed – HEAL Pain Effectiveness Research Network.
  • The CTSA Steering Committee unanimously approved adding a representative from the CTSA Program Administrator Group
  • The 2019 CTSA Spring Program Meeting will focus on Domain Task Force (DTF) groups and education/training, including sessions for the: Steering Committee, TL1 PIs, KL2 PIs, Workforce DTF, Collaboration & Engagement DTF, Methods & Processes DTF, and the communications group.

Click here for additional information and details on the 2018 Fall CTSA Program Meeting, including meeting presentations.

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