The CTSC of Cleveland is Right on Target as the Institute of Medicine Releases its Assessment Report

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Clinical and Translational Science Award programs across the county released a collective sigh of relief when the Institute of Medicine (IOM) released an assessment report on Tuesday, June 25, 2013, outlining the efficacy and impact of the CTSA's work.

On the whole, the report details the IOM's positive impression of the CTSA's missions and practices, encouraging the National Institute of Health (NIH) and National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) to continue supporting the CTSA's research and outcomes. And while it also made several recommendations for the program's governance and expansion, the report indicates that "the CTSA Program is contributing significantly to advancing clinical and translational research."

Ginny Petrie, Executive Director for the Clinical and Translational Science Collaborative of Cleveland (CTSC) at the School of Medicine, is pleased by the report's finding but admits that she trusted the IOM to recognize the incredible achievements happening throughout the program. "We have many accomplishments and milestones to be proud of," she says. "Not only has the CTSC brought together clinical researchers with translational and basic research scientists, but we've engaged community physicians, local networks, and area industry."

In fact, a few of the IOM's recommendations already have strong foundations within the School of Medicine. For example, one of the recommendations suggests strong community involvement in research phases and applications. While, as the report suggests, this may be a new opportunity for some researchers, researchers at Case Western Reserve University and its affiliate organizations have a long history of focusing on the significance of community engagement and contact. Many programs, like the newly-established Weatherhead Institute for Family and Community Health, exist to connect laboratory research, healthcare, and education with the real needs of surrounding communities and residents.

Another recommendation well-suited for adoption at the School of Medicine is the IOM's suggestion that researchers make a more concerted effort to "advance clinical and translational research relevant to child health." Child health and pediatric care often present distinctive challenges in prevention and treatment, but Case Western Reserve University pediatric researchers are well known for their continued, active engagement with pediatric complexities and treating rare diseases. Many important studies related to child health have flourished with the aid of the CTSC.

Formed in 2006, the CTSA program's goal is to directly advance laboratory discoveries towards preventive and treatment solutions for human health. The School of Medicine was awarded a spot in the program in 2007 and has been working with its partner institutions under the CTSC of Cleveland for the past six years.

Christopher P. Austin, MD, Director of NCATS noted that "the CTSA program has a unique role and responsibility to the research enterprise, and to those who matter most: patients and the public we serve." Indeed, the IOM report has called on the CTSA program to become a "national leader" in improving human health through exceptional clinical and translational research.

The CTSC and the School of Medicine are excited to continue the extraordinary work coming from researchers throughout the collaboration. With the IOM's recommendations at the forefront of the next development phase, the CTSC, School of Medicine, and its affiliate partners may well emerge as part of the new national leadership in clinical and translational sciences.