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UCLA CTSI Mission and Aims

The UCLA Clinical and Translational Science Institute (UCLA CTSI) is a research partnership of the University of California Los Angeles, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science and Harbor-UCLA Medical Center/Lundquist Institute for Biomedical Innovation. The UCLA CTSI is one of more than 50 research “hubs” supported by the supported by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences’ (NCATS) Clinical and Translational Science Awards program.

Our mission is to bring biomedical innovations to bear on the greatest health needs of Los Angeles, one of the most ethnically and economically diverse counties in the United States. Our vision is to catalyze research that translates discoveries into tangible improvements in health care, disease prevention, and health in our community.

Below are the aims of UCLA CTSI: 

Aim 1. Enhance education and training to prepare and expand the translational workforce. 

Aim 2. Engage stakeholder communities in multidisciplinary team science and disseminate successful models of collaboration.

Aim 3. Integrate special populations, including those experiencing health disparities, into all phases of translational research.

Aim 4. Improve methods and processes to accelerate efficient, high-quality, multisite research.

Aim 5. Provide informatics solutions to advance high-impact translational science.

Organizational Structure

UCLA CTSI Reporting Structure

The CTSI is led by the director, Steven Dubinett, who reports to UCLA chancellor Gene Block. The CTSI director is in regular communication with members of the Institutional Steering Committee. He has direct responsibility for CTSI operations, budgets, planning and policy. In consultation with the Leadership Group and the CTSI’s advisory boards, the director prioritizes activities, allocates resources, sets decision-making policies and procedures and assists in conflict resolution. His responsibilities include the integration of our biomedical research infrastructure with other UC medical campuses through UC Biomedical Research Acceleration, Innovation and Development (BRAID). He serves as the central liaison between the CTSI and its advisory boards as well as NCATS and the national CTSA network.

CTSI Leadership Group. The CTSI Leadership Group sets the strategic direction of the UCLA hub, including training and educating young investigators, promoting multidisciplinary research, developing community partnerships and integrating large-scale research infrastructure programs across our partner institutions. An important function of the Leadership Group is to serve as a clearinghouse for information from internal (e.g., partner institutions, centers, departments) and external sources (e.g., community partners, CTSA hubs, NCATS). The Leadership Group thus serves as a node for dissemination of data and important information to ensure the optimal functioning of the CTSI. The Leadership Group is composed of senior associate directors, associate directors, including all four site leaders, the administrative director, the communications director, the evaluation unit leader and a community and patient representative. It is chaired by the CTSI director. Members are institutional leaders and experts in their domains. The Leadership Group meets twice monthly.

Site Leaders. Cedars, Harbor and Charles Drew are full partners in the CTSI and participate in all CTSI programs. Site leaders are clinical and translational science leaders with oversight of CTSI programs and activities at their home institutions. They are chosen by the director, in consultation with the Institutional Steering Committee. Site leaders report in a matrix fashion to the director and the institutional leaders at their site.

Program Leaders. The CTSI has 12 programs and two training programs, the KL2 and the TL1. Each program has a leader or co-leaders selected by the CTSI director in consultation with the Institutional Steering Committee. Program leaders have direct oversight of their programs and coordinate program activities across our partner institutions to achieve program goals. Program leaders report to the CTSI director.

Administrative Unit. The Administrative Unit provides day-to-day grants management, support for meetings, and communications. The unit includes the Grants Submission Unit, which supports team science by assisting teams of investigators in preparing large, multisite proposals. Leveraging its extensive knowledge of our investigators’ research interests, the Grants Submission Unit will conduct outreach and facilitate interaction with the Trial Innovation Network. This approach was piloted in 2019 resulting in 12 proposals being submitted to the TIN, 10 of which were accepted.  

UCLA CTSI Organizational Structure

Institutional Steering Committee

Kelsey Martin (Chair) 
Dean, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
Professor, Biological Chemistry
Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences

David M. Carlisle, MD, PhD
President and Chief Executive
Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science

Shlomo K. Melmed, MB, ChB, MACP
Dean of the Medical Faculty
Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs
Director, Burns and Allen Research Institute
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

David I. Meyer, PhD
President and Chief Executive
The Lundquist Institute for Biomedical Innovation at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center

Jaydutt Vadgama, PhD
Vice President for Research and Health Affairs
Chief, Division of Cancer Research and Training
Endowed Chair in Cancer Research
Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science

Roger Wakimoto, PhD
Vice Chancellor for Research, UCLA 

External Advisory Committee

Anantha Shekhar, MD, PhD (Chair)
Director, Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute
Associate Dean for Translational Research
Raymond E. Houk Professor of Psychiatry
Professor of Pharmacology and Neurobiology
Indiana University

Sergio Aguilar-Gaxiola, MD, PhD
Director, Center for Reducing Health Disparities
Professor, Clinical Internal Medicine
Community Engagement Program Leader, Clinical and Translational Science Center
UC Davis

Deborah M. Fournier, PhD, MS
Assistant Provost for Institutional Research
Director, Evaluation and Tracking, BU CTSI
Boston University 

Michael K. Gould, MD, MS 
Senior Research Scientist
Director, Health Services Research & Implementation Science
Leader, Care Improvement Research Team (CIRT) in the Department of Research and Evaluation
Kaiser Permanente of Southern California 

Virginia McFerran

Shawn N. Murphy, MD, PhD
Professor of Neurology
Harvard University

Harry P. Selker, MD, MSPH
Director, Clinical and Translational Science Institute
Professor of Medicine, School of Medicine
Executive Director, Institute for Clinical Research and Health Policy Studies
Tufts University

William E. Smoyer, MD, FASN
C. Robert Kidder Chair Professor of Pediatrics
Vice President, Clinical and Translational Research
Director, Center for Clinical and Translational Research
The Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital
Ohio State University

Hal F. Yee, Jr, MD, PhD
Chief Medical Officer
Chief Deputy Director, Health Services, Clinical and Medical Affairs
Los Angeles County Department of Health Services

Internal Advisory Board

Kelsey C. Martin, MD, PhD (Chair)
Dean, David Geffen School of Medicine

Deborah B. Prothrow-Stith, MD (Co-Chair)
Dean, College of Medicine
Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science

Joel T. Braslow, MD, PhD
Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences

Robert A. Cherry, MD, MS, FACS, FACHE
Chief Medical and Quality Officer
UCLA Health

Jason Cong, PhD, MS
Chancellor’s Professor, Department of Computer Science
Director, Center for Domain-Specific Computing
Co-Director, Joint Research Institute in Science and Engineering by Peking University
Co-Director, VLSI Architecture, Synthesis, and Technology (VAST) Laboratory

Christina Christie, PhD 
Interim Dean, Graduate School of Education & Information Studies

Eric S. Daar, MD
Interim Chair, Department of Medicine
Chief, Division of HIV Medicine
Harbor-UCLA Medical Center
Professor of Medicine

Holli A. DeVon, PhD, RN 
Associate Dean for Research, Nursing

David Gere, PhD
Professor, UCLA Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance
Director, UCLA Art & Global Health Center

Alexander Hoffmann, PhD
Professor, Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics
Director, Institute of Quantitative and Computational Biosciences (QCBio)

Sylvia Hurtado, PhD
Professor, Education & Information Studies
Head, Higher Education & Organizational Change Division
Director, Higher Education Research Institute

Jorja Leap, PhD
Adjunct Professor, Department of Social Welfare
Executive Director, Social Justice Research Partnership
Director, UCLA Watts Leadership Institute
Luskin School of Public Affairs

Nicole A. Leonard, JD, MBA
Vice President & Associate Dean, Research
Cedars-Sinai Health System

Roger Lewis, MD, PhD
Chair, Department of Emergency Medicine
Harbor-UCLA Medical Center
Professor of Emergency Medicine

Aziza Lucas-Wright, MEd
Community Engagement Specialist/Community Faculty
Healthy African American Families
Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science

Emilie Marcus, PhD
Executive Strategy Officer, David Geffen School of Medicine

Benjamin Nathan, MS
Chief Information Officer
David Geffen School of Medicine

Chon A. Noriega, PhD
Professor, Department of Film, Television and Digital Media
Director, Chicano Studies Research Center

Mark A. Peterson, PhD
Professor of Public Policy, Political Science, and Law
Department of Public Policy
Luskin School of Public Affairs

Vivek Shetty, DDS, DMD
Professor of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, School of Dentistry
Assistant Vice Chancellor for Research

Johnese Spisso, MPA
President, UCLA Health
CEO, UCLA Hospitals & Clinic System

Lawrence Tolliver
Owner, L. Tolliver's Barbershop (LA Barbershop Blood Pressure Study)

Laura Trejo, MS, PA
General Manager
Los Angeles City, Department of Aging 

Jaydutt Vadgama, PhD
Vice President for Research and Health Affairs
Chief, Division of Cancer Research and Training
Endowed Chair in Cancer Research
Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science

Steven P. Wallace, PhD
Professor, Community Health Sciences

Donna L. Washington, MD, MPH
Women’s Health Focused Research Area Lead, VA HSR&D Center for the Study of Healthcare Innovation, Implementation and Policy (CSHIIP), VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System
Director, Office of Health Equity/QUERI Partnered Evaluation Center
Professor of Medicine

Dorothy J. Wiley, PhD, RN 
Professor, School of Nursing

Ben M. Wu, DDS, PhD
Professor and Chair, Division of Advanced Prosthodontics
Chair, Section of Biomaterials Science
Director, Weintraub Center for Reconstructive Biotechnology

Zuo-Feng Zhang, MD, PhD
Professor, Epidemiology
Associate Dean for Research
UCLA Fielding School of Public Health

Patient Advocacy Board

Board Member
Background Expertise
Dikla Benzeevi
A metastatic breast cancer survivor and outstanding patient advocate who has been instrumental in recruiting patients for research Breast Cancer
Joyce Brandman
Health care philanthropist and president of Saul and Joyce Brandman Foundation; personal family experience with disease
Medical Education and Research
George Cruz
A battalion chief in the LA County Fire Department and stakeholder representative to the Firefighter Cardiovascular Screening and Heart Disease Prevention Program Heart Disease
Tyla Hamburg Bohbot
Parent of a child with Duchenne muscular dystrophy Muscular Dystrophy
Carol Head
President and CEO of Solve Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and a patient
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and
Medical Research
Cath Jayasuriya
Mother of child with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and founder and CEO of Coalition Duchenne
Muscular Dystrophy
Audrey Aofia Kawaiopua Alo
Director of the Pacific Islander Health Partnership, health advocate, cultural educator and fundraiser Diabetes, Obesity, and Substance Abuse
Adam Miller
The parent of a child with food allergies and member of the board of Food Allergy Research and Education Food Allergy
Kim Norris
President of the Lung Cancer Foundation of America and seasoned patient advocate; personal family experience with lung cancer Lung Cancer
Lawrence Tolliver
African American barber and experienced stakeholder advocate; representative to NHLBI-funded study of a barbershop-based intervention to improve blood pressure management in black men Heart Disease
Richard Van Horn
Immediate past chair of Mental Health America and president emeritus of their Los Angeles branch, and participant in a PCORI Patient-powered Research Network (Community and Patient Participatory Research Network, UCLA and LSU) Behavioral Health
Sadie Whittaker, PhD
Solve Myalgic Encephalomyelitis Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

CTSI Leadership Group

Steven Dubinettt, MD (Chair)
CTSI Director
Associate Vice Chancellor for Research

Arleen Brown, MD, PhD
CTSI Senior Associate Director and Community Engagement Leader
Program Leader, CTSI Community Engagement and Research Program 
General Internist and Health Services Investigator

Mitchell Wong, MD, PhD
CTSI Senior Associate Director and Research Education and Training Leader
Director, CTSI KL2 Program
Professor of Medicine, UCLA Division of General Internal Medicine and Health Services Research

Arash Naeim, MD, PhD
CTSI Senior Associate Director and Clinical Research Leader
CTSI Program Leader, CTSI Regulatory Knowledge and Support (RKS) and Network Capacity (NC) programs
Chief Medical Officer for Clinical Research
Professor of Medicine, Divisions of Hematology-Oncology and Geriatric Medicine

Alex Bui, PhD
CTSI Senior Associate Director and Informatics Leader
CTSI Program Leader, Biomedical Informatics Program
Director, Medical & Imaging Informatics Group
Director, UCLA Medical Informatics Training Program
Professor, Departments of Radiology and Bioinformatics

Robert A. Jenders, MD, MS
CTSI Associate Director and Charles Drew Site Leader
CTSI Program Co-Leader, Biomedical Informatics Program
Co-Director, Charles Drew Center for Bioinformatics
Professor of Medicine
Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science and UCLA

Brennan Spiegel, MD, MSHS
CTSI Associate Director and Cedars-Sinai Site Leader
Professor of Medicine and Public Health
Director, Health Services Research
Director, Master's Degree Program in Health Delivery Sciences
Director, Cedars-Sinai Center for Outcomes Research and Education (CS-CORE)
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

Christina Wang, MD
CTSI Associate Director and Lundquist/Harbor-UCLA Site Leader
Investigator, Male Reproductive Medicine and Biology
Director, Clinical and Translational Research Center at Harbor

Keith Norris, MD, PhD
CTSI Associate Director for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI)
CTSI Co-Leader, Community Engagement and Research Program
Leader, UCLA Department of Medicine EDI Office
Leader, NIH Diversity Program Consortium Coordination and Evaluation Center at UCLA

Anne Skinner
CTSI Administrative Director

Denise Gellene
CTSI Communications Director

Pamela Davidson, PhD, MSHS
CTSI Evaluation Unit Leader