UW News

October 11, 2007

NIH funds UW Institute of Translational Health Sciences

By Clare Hagerty & Elizabeth Lowry
News & Community Relations

The UW Institute of Translational Health Sciences is among 12 additional academic medical organizations nationwide to receive funding through the National Institutes of Health Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSAs). The national consortium is aimed at transforming how clinical and translational research is conducted at academic health centers across the country. The goal of translational science is to more efficiently convert basic science research into clinical applications to provide new treatments more quickly to patients.

The UW Institute will receive approximately $62 million of the approximately $577 million in total funding that will be awarded over five years to the national consortium. The UW is part of a second round of participating centers, joining the first 12 member institutions announced last October. The consortium sites serve as discovery engines that can rapidly translate research into prevention strategies and clinical treatments. When fully implemented in 2012, 60 institutions will be linked together to energize the discipline of clinical and translational science.

The Institute of Translational Health Sciences is a consortium of six UW health science professional schools and multiple partner institutions covering 12 sites, involving 67 key scientific personnel, and connecting researchers to more than 150 centers. This CTSA site includes the UW, Children’s Hospital and Regional Medical Center, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, Group Health Cooperative Center for Health Studies, Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason, and the Northwest Association for Biomedical Research, which will educate the public about translational research and the importance of participating in clinical trials.

The institute is led by Nora Disis, associate dean for translational science in the UW School of Medicine, UW professor of medicine in the Division of Oncology, director of the UW Center for Translational Medicine in Women’s Health, and member of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

The institute will integrate research and clinical institutions across the five-state region of Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, and Idaho (WWAMI) through collaborative pathways that are part of the successful WWAMI program led by the UW School of Medicine. Features of the Institute of Translational Health Sciences include:

n a community engagement plan which considers diversity across race, ethnicity, culture, rural and urban locations, geography, health status and health service delivery in partnership with Group Health Cooperative Center for Health Studies;

n an integrated ethics program linking adult and pediatric medical centers in partnership with Children’s Hospital; and

n advanced capability for therapeutic product development and clinical testing, in conjunction with the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, aimed at enhancing future health care in the region.

In addition, six American Indian/Native American network sites have been invited to partner with the institute, including the Seattle Indian Health Board, the Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board, the Native Health Clinic (Spokane, Wash.), the South Puget Sound Intertribal Planning Agency (Shelton, Wash.), the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (Anchorage, Alaska), and the Montana-Wyoming Tribal Leaders Council (Billings, Mont.).

For more information about the CTSA awards, including a list of participating academic health centers around the country, visit http://www.ctsaweb.org