New drugs and diagnostic tests go through years of clinical trials before being approved. But while regulatory approval is an enormous hurdle, getting through that process doesn’t automatically ensure that patients have access to these medical innovations.
Now, a new field called implementation science is evolving to facilitate the transition from clinical trials to clinical practice. The Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University at Buffalo recently announced the funding of two faculty scholars who will focus on this new science so more patients benefit from innovations. Two faculty members from the University at Buffalo School of Public Health and Health Professions will serve as mentors on the projects. The scholars and mentors are:
The funding comes from a $3 million award to UB’s CTSI in 2017, one of just 10 grants in the U.S. awarded for this purpose by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health. Called a K12 award, it is an institutional career development award designed to promote recruitment and retention of the best and the brightest to UB.
“With these translational science grants, NIH wants to bring more relevance to research,” said Dr. Ranjit Singh, associate professor and vice chair for research in the department of family medicine in the Jacobs School.
Dr. Singh, who also directs the Jacobs School’s Primary Care Research Institute, is co-director on the grant, while Dr. Noyes is serving as curriculum director.
While translational science is the effort to speed the delivery of medical advances to patients, implementation science is sometimes described as “late-stage” translational science in that it involves ensuring that the community has the broadest access possible to those advances. The grant funds two positions this year and three to five over the next four years, supporting mentored research and career development for faculty scholars, either currently at UB or new recruits, in implementation research. Their charge is to address the complex process of bridging research and practice in real-world settings.
The program is especially interested in novel approaches to reducing health disparities in clinical populations and increasing diversity in the clinical and translational workforce.