UCLA Health and the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA will systematically direct research and scientific enterprise to address the COVID-19 pandemic.
Our city, state, country and world face an unprecedented challenge requiring all of us to work together. The strengths of UCLA Health in basic, translational and clinical research position us to make a transformative and enduring impact on the COVID-19 pandemic. To do this, we must take a targeted and prioritized approach to developing and scaling our COVID-19 research programs. While safeguarding the principles of academic freedom and recognizing the importance of preserving individual research programs, now is the time for us to come together as a community to prioritize specific research questions and activities with the potential to have a profound impact on the COVID-19 pandemic.
New DGSOM COVID-19 Research Governance Structure
The limited availability of resources and research materials makes it essential for us to think and act strategically. As such, DGSOM leadership, through Vice Dean for Research Steve Smale, is implementing a new COVID-19 Research Governance Structure to facilitate strategic, prioritized allocation of financial resources, biospecimens, PPE, and research facilities.
This infrastructure will be led by a central Oversight COVID-19 Research Committee (OCRC) chaired by Dr. Owen Witte, Director of the Broad Stem Cell Research Center. Membership includes:
The OCRC will set a bold, collective vision and roadmap for COVID-19 research supported by the DGSOM.
There are five task forces with deep expertise in specific domains that will report up to the OCRC for research related to COVID-19, to accelerate problem-solving and decision-making:
DGSOM and UCLA Health have created a dedicated email inbox, COVID19Research@mednet.ucla.edu, for all queries related to COVID-19 research at DGSOM, which will be managed and monitored by the OCRC. Please direct all emails and requests concerning COVID-19 research to that inbox. You are also encouraged to cc the chair of the most relevant Task Force and/or Steve Smale, the Vice Dean for Research. We recognize the urgency of all COVID-related activities and the frequent need to respond to competitive opportunities sometimes within 24 hours so we are committed to same-day response to all emails coming to this address.
Over the past several weeks, much progress has already been made by our incredible DGSOM research community to pivot our research enterprise to address the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, Vice Dean Steve Smale has worked closely with Sr. Associate Dean Steve Dubinett and the leadership of the UCLA CTSI to identify opportunities to facilitate COVID-19 translational and clinical research. This work has already resulted in remarkable achievements, including rapid approval and opening of a Remdesivir trial for COVID-19 patients in UCLA Health and moving several clinical research projects forward in record time. These achievements highlight what DGSOM faculty and leaders can do when they come together to address a challenge.