Although Oklahoma is fortunate to have a cadre of basic science investigators who receive federal and national support, we lag behind in our potential in generating well-funded programs in clinical and translational research. The FOA backs this in its statement that "tremendous challenges and opportunities remain for pursuing activities aligned with the NIH's growing interest and focus on clinical and translational research" in IDeA states. Given the disparities that exist in the infrastructure, it is imperative that innovative new strategies are designed to help investigators from Oklahoma and other IDeA states to compete successfully for National and Federal Funding. To achieve these goals, it is necessary to create an environment that facilitates the expansion and acceleration of our clinical and translational research programs, focusing our efforts on the issues which remain the major health challenges to our state, to our OSCTR IDeA partner states and our underserved communities with health disparities. As such, our emphasis will be on clinical and translational research focused on diabetes, accelerated heart disease, obesity, cancer, arthritis, autoimmunity and issues important to childhood health. Our long-term goal is to improve our existing infrastructure and to provide the tools that investigators throughout Oklahoma and collaborating IDeA states need to attract new research dollars to the region from outside sources to support innovative and collaborative research programs. These funds are crucial to help address health issues and health disparities, which are major challenges for IDeA states. Our major objective is to establish a program that will provide the necessary infrastructure to support a clinical and translational pilot grant program. Our central hypothesis is that by providing early support in the form of strategic leadership, grant funding, and mentorship to investigators with meritorious projects, we will identify and train a new generation of well-trained, well-funded investigators who will be more readily equipped to translate scientific discoveries into practical applications.
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