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Background: UI Institute for Clinical and Translational Science

What is the University of Iowa Institute for Clinical and Translational Science?

The University of Iowa Institute for Clinical and Translational Science is an overarching structure for all clinical and translational research at the UI. Approved by the Board of Regents, State of Iowa, in December 2006, the Institute is already up and running and includes researchers from several different colleges, including the colleges of dentistry, nursing, pharmacy, public health, engineering and liberal arts and sciences, as well as medicine.

How is the Institute funded?

In September 2007, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) granted the University of Iowa a five-year, $33.8 million Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) -- the second-largest award ever made to the UI -- to fund the Institute (see CTSA backgrounder at The NIH established these grants as part of its "Roadmap for Medical Research," to help speed up the pace of clinical and translational research across the country. The University of Iowa is one of only about 25 centers in the United States to have received a CTSA so far.

What is the organizational structure of the Institute?

Gary Hunninghake, M.D., the Sterba Professor of Internal Medicine in the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine and the college's senior associate dean for clinical and translational sciences, directs the Institute. As director, Hunninghake reports to the UI Provost's Office.

Why is an institute needed?

The Institute for Clinical and Translational Science will advance research at the UI in several ways: It will organize research efforts across the UI campus, bringing together researchers from multiple disciplines to share knowledge and ideas that may lead to new or better treatments; it will create a cohesive infrastructure for new training programs specifically designed to prepare students and junior faculty for careers in clinical and translational science; and it will engage the State of Iowa as a partner in clinical and translational research.

Who is part of the Institute?

Any researcher at the UI, regardless of collegiate affiliation, can be involved in the Institute as long as his or her research project potentially involves human subjects, public policy or outcomes that relate to human health. The Institute is partnering with the University of Arizona to ensure diversity in its research efforts. Other partners include Iowa State University, Iowa/Nebraska Primary Care Association, Iowa Health System, Mercy Health Network, Iowa Hospital Association, Wellmark Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Iowa Medical Society, Unity Health System and Genesis Health System. Iowa communities will also be an integral part of the Institute.

How will Iowa communities be involved with the Institute?

The University of Iowa already has a strong tradition of community outreach. The Institute will build on that tradition by creating a statewide network of community practitioners to help facilitate clinical research being performed by the UI and bring cutting-edge treatments to patients in outlying communities. Some of the Institute's specific community-based efforts are:

-- Creating clinical research advisory groups of community practitioners and patients to identify community health priorities

-- Assigning community-based research coordinators to develop patient education programs, supervise clinical research staff, and serve as liaisons for clinical investigators

-- Implementing computer-based education programs for patients and community practitioners

-- Providing practice management consultation for participating centers

-- Establishing disease registries for high-priority prevalent conditions

-- Developing Web-based data collection software

-- Providing cultural competency training to enhance investigators' knowledge of cultural values, beliefs, and behaviors of different minority populations and their ability to conduct research in diverse populations

A specific aim of the Institute is to coordinate ongoing and new research programs that target health disparities within the State of Iowa.

How will the Institute benefit the state of Iowa?

By partnering with communities across Iowa, the Institute will be able to identify health and research needs that are particularly relevant to the people of Iowa. The Institute will involve underserved populations in important research that may benefit individual participants and also enrich and diversify the research participant pool. These partnerships will bring cutting-edge treatments to a wider population and at the same time enhance community trust in clinical and translational research. Greater community involvement will help researchers identify areas that need further study, and additionally, give community practitioners the opportunity be involved in research. Finally, findings from investigators involved in the Institute will provide important health information to improve the lives of Iowans as well as people across the country and world.

For more information, see the following Web pages:

National Institutes of Health CTSA Web site:

National Institutes of Health CTSA consortium Web site:

NIH Roadmap Web site, with specific information about translational science:

UI News Release, Dec. 8, 2006

"Regents To Consider UI Clinical And Translational Science Institute"

Medicine Alumni Magazine, Winter 2007

"From Bench to Bedside"