Published: March 26, 2024

The Miami CTSI congratulates the recipients of its Pilot Awards, which provides funding and support to early career faculty focused on clinical translational science that aims to improve the health of our community, address health disparities and promote health equity.

The CTSI Pilot Program awards up to $40,000 to each investigator. This year’s recipients represent the fields of physical therapy, communications, obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics, internal medicine and otolaryngology, and are leading projects well-positioned to generate publications and data to be used in pursuit of outside funding.

Lauri Bishop, Ph.D.

Lauri Bishop, Ph.D.

Lauri Bishop, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Clinical Physical Therapy

Project Title: Disparities In Post-Stroke Locomotor Behaviors At Home And In The Community

Stroke-related motor impairments and balance deficits coupled with health comorbidities, clinical, and psychosocial factors contribute to reduced community walking in stroke survivors. Social determinants of health and racial and ethnic disparities in access to and quality of care, play a role in post-stroke management and outcomes.

Dr. Bishop will use gait monitors to study how a diverse group of stroke survivors walk at home and in their community. The data will be used to inform future research that targets interventional approaches to extend rehabilitation into the home and community and address racial and ethnic disparities.

Ching-Hua Chuan, Ph.D.

Ching-Hua Chuan, Ph.D.

Ching-Hua Chuan, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Interactive Media

Project Title: Exploring Large Language Models for Chatbots as Eligibility Assistants for Clinical Trials

Chatbots have been found to be effective for helping patients with low computer literacy and low health literacy to enroll in clinical trials. However, popular chatbots like ChatGPT are not HIPAA compliant. Using simulations, experiments and online surveys, Dr. Chuan will expand on her research of a clinical trial chatbot by exploring and testing computational solutions that can effectively adopt open-source large language models to classify medical information and criteria in a user-centered manner while protecting the user’s privacy.

Katrina Ciraldo, M.D.

Katrina Ciraldo, M.D.

Katrina Ciraldo, M.D., Assistant Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences

Project Title: Designing Care With and For Peri-Pregnancy People Who Use Drugs

Pregnant people with severe substance use disorders are more likely to be impacted by HIV, Hepatitis C, syphilis, overdose, mental illness and toxic stress. Dr. Ciraldo will study the acceptability of mobile harm reduction-focused, peri-pregnancy care for pregnant patients who use drugs (PWUD). She will then design a clinical model based on discrete choice experiments with patients who would be served by such a clinic.

Victor Cueto, M.D.

Victor Cueto, M.D.

Victor Cueto, M.D., Assistant Professor Internal Medicine and Pediatrics

Project Title: Translating Obesity Treatment Guidelines Into Primary Care Practice: A Pilot Implementation Trial

Implementation of clinical guidelines for obesity treatment has proven challenging for primary care practices and requires a significant amount of expertise, time, and care coordination.

Dr. Cueto will pilot an implementation trial of guideline treatment (GT) for patients with obesity at a community-based internal medicine and pediatrics clinic with access to obesity specialty care. He will analyze acceptability, feasibility, engagement, attrition, among other factors.

Sandra Prentiss, Ph.D.

Sandra Prentiss, Ph.D.

Sandra Prentiss, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Clinical Otolaryngology

Project Title: Enhancing Equity in Speech Perception Testing for Spanish-Speaking Individuals with Hearing Loss: A Path Towards Improved Health Outcomes

The lack of linguistically and culturally appropriate materials for the evaluation of hearing in Hispanic/ Latino patients experiencing hearing loss creates significant healthcare inequities. Dr. Prentiss will explore Spectral resolution and localization ability in Spanish-English bilingual listeners as non-linguistic proxy measures of speech perception and binaural hearing individuals with hearing loss with the goal of developing a non-linguistic test to assess patients for hearing intervention.

The RFA for the next round of Pilot Awards (FY25) will be announced soon. Learn more about the CTSI Pilot Program Awards here.




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