The Institute of Translational Health Sciences (ITHS) is a collaboration between 3 partners;the University of Washington, the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, and Seattle Children's. Over the last 4 years, the work of the ITHS has also extended to partner institutions in the Puget Sound and throughout the 5-state region of Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, and Idaho. In 2007, we established the ITHS as a "collaboratory"- an academic home without walls for translational investigators in our region. The ITHS supports novel research resources in biomedical informatics, biostatistics, therapeutic product development and clinical research, supported by expertise in bioethics and regulatory practices. To train the next generation of researchers, the ITHS has developed multidisciplinary educational offerings in translational research: structured training programs (pre-doctoral and post-doctoral programs) and lifelong learning programs (flexible continuing education for researchers at any stage of their career). The ITHS has also established collaboration networks for research and engaged nearly 2000 members and users. ITHS memberships and networks have spanned across the 5-state region and diverse populations such as the Alaska Native/ American Indian communities to engage new groups in clinical and translational research. In the proposed funding period we will extend the collaboratory to multidisciplinary teams and focus on moving discoveries across the translational research continuum rapidly and efficiently. We will develop state-of-the-art methods and tools to transform research processes. Our overarching goals are to: 1) Develop and promote multidisciplinary teams and academic-community partnerships to increase the speed and quality of translational research, 2) Train scientists to cross the interface of translational research phases, so their ideas will move more quickly to a health impact, and 3) Transform research processes and practices in our regions and the CTSA network through dissemination of innovative approaches and best practices.
The health care needs of our nation are complex and finding effective solutions and cures will require a multi- disciplinary, multi-faceted approach based on innovation and state-of-the-art science. The CTSA program, both at the local level and through the national CTSA consortium, provides the elements needed to accelerate discoveries at the bench into tangible health benefits for our communities.