Letter From the President
It is almost a year since travel bans and lockdowns disrupted our lives, and what a tumultuous year it has been. It is extraordinary how the clinical and translational research has risen to the challenge. Master Protocols are becoming the norm, decentralized trials increasingly prevalent, and efficiencies in trial processes have been found everywhere. It is astounding to watch the pace of invention and it is comforting to see team science playing out across the country. As we cycle through the year, though, I am also reminded of the great things we are missing, and the opportunities gone awry. Sometimes, the victories taste bittersweet.
Today, I am looking forward to Translational Science 2021, yet I have been worried about not having a chance to catch up with old colleagues, learn about some new approach to solving a complex research problem, or happen on a poster that triggers a new collaboration. Like most things over the past year, it will be essential to be intentional about attending to relationships, attending sessions, and browsing posters. I was lucky enough to have a preview of the software platform that is being used to support this years’ annual meeting. Every concern vanished. Yes, I will need to be intentional. But, the planning committee has found a way for me to engage with my colleagues with integrated networking features, to attend virtual sessions both in real time and at my leisure, and to ensure an excellent experience for presenters and attendees. Just like in meetings past, I am most excited about going to my Special Interest Group meetings.
If you have yet to join one of our Special Interest Groups, I encourage you to explore the opportunities. Nowhere else in the country is there a similar gathering of passionate scientists focused on making clinical and translational research better. From the processes involved in recruiting scholars, to the challenges faced by evaluators making the case for impact of a CTSA program, to the need for appointment and promotion guidelines that embrace team science, the ACTS Special Interest Groups provide a peer group for developing and communicating best practices, for supporting new and emerging clinical and translational research core leaders, and for exposing trainees to the full breadth of team science.
During the past year, our Special Interest Groups have been a source of support and wisdom. Early in the pandemic, much was shared about what was and what was not working at the institutional level. The intelligence from researchers on the front lines has been incredible, swiftly sharing the evolving processes. From the best way to structure data systems for remote data capture, to expanding trial access using multi-lingual eConsent processes, to finding ways to engage scholars in virtual formats, the Special Interest Groups developed, disseminated, tested and improved many research innovations in the past year. I expect it will take some time for the system to settle and for us to understand how to best leverage innovations from a time of crisis for sustained impact on the clinical and translational research enterprise. It is delightful to see that work is already happening.
Over the coming months, our Journal of Clinical and Translational Science will be releasing several thematic issues. One will describe the clinical research enterprise response to the pandemic, some of the lessons learned, and opportunities to set the stage for improved response next time there is a publish health emergency. Another explores the role of data science in clinical and translational research. This builds on thematic issues that are already available on rural health, and on implementation science.
As you prepare for Translational Science 2021, and you find yourself wondering about how you will benefit from the meeting, I encourage you to be intentional about your engagement. As well as the scientific sessions of interest, I recommend joining a Special Interest Group meeting to learn more about how we are impacting science for the better. Consider joining in our advocacy efforts, or just learn about the role of advocacy in funding of clinical and translational research. If you are not able to attend in person, please browse the meeting abstracts that will be published in our journal, and we will be making select sessions available throughout the calendar year to give you more opportunities to participate.
Our clinical and translational science community is strong because of you. We look forward to seeing you at Translational Science 2021, and we encourage you to continue your engagement beyond the conference season through our Special Interest Groups, our journal, and our advocacy efforts. See you then!
Christopher John Lindsell, PhD
Translational Science 2021: Don't Miss the Early Bird Rates
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Join us March 31—April 2, 2021 for a full line-up of scientific programming focused on breaking barriers and building bridges across clinical research and translational science. Whether you're looking for insights to kick start your next research project, resources to advance your career, or time to explore new opportunities for collaboration, we've got you covered.
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Journal of Clinical and Translational Science
Volume 4 / Issue 6 of the Journal of Clinical and Translational is now available online!
Submit your article today to be featured in future issues of JCTS! Please also visit the JCTS website for information on our themed issue related to Educational Innovations for Teaching Clinical and Translational Science.
Translational Science Today
Inside the workings of COVID-19 modeling workgroup
By CHRISTOPHER SCHOBERT When COVID-19 began to impact Western New York in March 2020, local leaders tasked Peter Winkelstein, executive director of UB's Institute for Healthcare Informatics and a member of the board and Steering Committee of the...