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The UCLA CTSI is dedicated to fully and comprehensively addressing the unmet need, at our partner institutions and nationwide, of educating and training clinical investigators and translational scientists in the requisite skills and strategies for successful interdisciplinary team research. We recognize that novel approaches are required to prepare investigators for modern patient-oriented, community-based investigation. Traditional training environments tend to isolate community-oriented, clinical, and basic scientists, thus impeding interdisciplinary team-based translational investigation. Historically, researchers across the full spectrum from Type 1 to Type 2 translation have rarely engaged in substantive partnerships with communities. We have transformed education and training in translational medicine by bringing community priorities and participation into most activities undertaken by the CTSI Research Education, Training, and Career Development Program (CTSI-ED), from the selection of CTSI-affiliated scholars to development and dissemination of the kinds of studies needed to move research from bench to bedside and into community-wide best practice. Building on the collaborative participation of the CTSI institutions' General Clinical Research Centers, newly reconfigured as the CTSI Clinical and Community Research Resources (CCRR) Program, our strategy is to create a unified infrastructure that cultivates interdisciplinary translational research teams and develops scientists who will be the leaders in the next generation of translational research.
We have explicitly designed our programs to disrupt the training silos that impede interdisciplinary team-based research and have simultaneously infused substantive community input into all levels and aspects of training and agenda setting for the CTSI-ED. The complex resources requisite for training in modern clinical and translational investigation are guided by the newly formed Clinical Research Education and Specialized Training (CREST) Committee. This new infrastructure coordinates and optimizes existing and novel training programs throughout the CTSI institutions and ensures that CTSI trainees learn the skills needed to function effectively on interdisciplinary teams, to communicate research findings to communities, and to integrate community priorities and input into research across the spectrum of translation. In a system that rewards team-based research, investigators trained under the auspices of the UCLA CTSI will bridge the divides among laboratory science, clinical investigation, and community-based research.
Overall, the CTSI-ED is aiming to achieve 5 goals:
(1) Eliminate training program silos by establishing a centralized operational infrastructure to foster training program evaluation, improvement, and career development.
(2) Defragment career development opportunities by providing a physical and virtual home for training requirements/opportunities within the multiplicity of T1 and T2 translational research programs at the CTSI partner institutions.
(3) Expand and improve existing training programs to reflect expertise of CTSI faculty by providing infrastructure and support for the key didactic CTSI-ED programs (the MS and Fellowship in Clinical Translational Research), and by reorganizing and increasing institutional support for successful CTSI-ED programs, including the MS, STAR, and the CTSI and KL2 training programs.
(4) Increase didactic opportunities for basic scientists to acquire knowledge and skills in T1 and T2 translational research by creating new courses such as Pathways to Clinical Goals for the training programs, and by developing a new KL2 program in translational therapeutics and technologies research, PhD track in systems biology, novel T32 training program in clinical and community-partnered research, and Executive MS Program in community and health sciences leadership.
(5) Develop and maintain the CTSI-ED Curriculum Tree of rigorously evaluated courses and establish a well-staffed Office of Education to provide elements and logistical aid to develop new cross-disciplinary programs.
The Curriculum Tree provides students, teaching assistants, and instructors with an easy and uniform access to course material and to online instruction tools.