Personas for Clinical and Translational Science

CD2H Phase 2 Proposal

Project Title: Personas for Clinical and Translational Science

Point Person: Sara Gonzales,, NU


Elevator pitch:

This project will profile the translational workforce: specific roles, expertise, training, needs regarding data access and use, software tools, and workflows; the resulting library of community driven collection of personas will help scope and drive forward translational software and program projects.


Project history:

This work doesn’t specifically build off of deliverables from Phase 1, but once completed, does broadly support CD2H program activities. Previously completed work that can inform this effort includes the Collections as Data (CAD) Personas project, and includes a persona template.


Of note, the results of the maturity model project will be a valuable resource in the construction of the personas and likewise, the personas may be a useful resource for the maturity model team. The personas will also be very valuable in determining requirements for all CD2H software products, such as Cielo, Synapse, Leaf, the Discovery application on the CD2H website, and for the Invenio platform.


GitHub repo:


Project description:

The concept of the translational workforce is an important one and plays a prominent role in the work and communication of CTSA Program hubs, NCATS, and beyond. However, to date, a defined list of translational workforce roles in CTS does not exist. Here, we aim to better define the specific roles included in the translational workforce, establish a set of personas to reflect those roles, construct a portfolio of these persona profiles, and disseminate broadly to the CTSA program and to the CD2H for use in development of use cases, communications, training materials, and more.


Proposed Solution:

We propose to develop a CTS Persona Portfolio to represent the diverse roles in CTS. This effort will be modeled on the Collections as Data (CAD) Personas project, funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The CAD Personas represent an initial set of role types associated with collections as data activity. From the CTS project site:


On the whole, personas aim to surface needs, motivations, and goals in context. […] In Agile software development, a persona is used to help develop a broadly shared orientation to user experience. Gary Geisler has written, “Personas offer a way to summarize findings from user research and help determine user requirements and priorities. These documents help project teams develop a common understanding of a project’s intended audience and priorities. They also serve as a useful reference for design decisions throughout the development process.”


The CTS personas will reflect the spectrum of translation and the diversity of roles required for successful translation at the local hub level and span across the translational signposts as defined by NCATS of Basic Research →  Pre-Clinical ResearchClinical ResearchClinical ImplementationPublic Health (see figure). Indeed, NCATS has targeted a diverse translational workforce as a key strategic priority through training, career development, mentorship, and strategic application of tools and technologies to support growth, success, and sustainability of this diverse workforce.


A great amount of work has been accomplished to date in the field that clearly establishes the general concept of the “translational workforce”, the importance of team science and interprofessional teams, and some general “role-types” contained therein. However, a systematic approach to identify specific roles across CTS, and especially roles that fall outside of traditional investigator or clinical faculty, has yet to be completed. [see references at end]



This work offers a number of significant benefits to our colleagues in the CD2H and to the CTSA Program overall.  This portfolio of personas could be used by the project to understand perspective and communicate projects to the broader CTSA community.


Expected outputs (6 months):

  • A definition of the translational workforce that includes clearly identified and defined roles (we expect roughly 6-12 personas, though more at greater granularity are always possible).
  • A portfolio of personas that represent translational workforce roles; these personas can be used for a wide range of purposes (generate use cases, target training, resources, and programming; and generally help guide CD2H perspective). Moreover, these personas will be made openly available to the CTSA Program and hubs to support their own needs.  
  • A mechanism for ongoing input and improvement of the personas and engagement of the broader CTS community, perhaps via ticketing through github or perhaps via REDCap form, depending on community preferences.

Background references:

Begg, M. D., Bennett, L. M., Cicutto, L., Gadlin, H., Moss, M., Tentler, J., & Schoenbaum, E. (2015). Graduate education for the future: new models and methods for the clinical and translational workforce. Clinical and translational science, 8(6), 787-792.


Embi, P. J., & Payne, P. R. (2015). Future Directions for Translational Informatics. In Translational Informatics (pp. 165-178). Springer, London.


Meyers, F. J., Begg, M. D., Fleming, M., & Merchant, C. (2012). Strengthening the career development of clinical translational scientist trainees: a consensus statement of the Clinical Translational Science Award (CTSA) Research Education and Career Development Committees. Clinical and translational science, 5(2), 132-137.


Lee, L. S., Pusek, S. N., McCormack, W. T., Helitzer, D. L., Martina, C. A., Dozier, A. M., … & Haynes, E. N. (2012). Clinical and translational scientist career success: metrics for evaluation. Clinical and translational science, 5(5), 400-407.


Estape, E. S., Mays, M. H., Harrigan, R., & Mayberry, R. (2014). Incorporating translational research with clinical research to increase effectiveness in healthcare for better health. Clinical and translational medicine, 3(1), 20.


Schneider, M., Guerrero, L., Jones, L. B., Tong, G., Ireland, C., Dumbauld, J., & Rainwater, J. (2015). Developing the translational research workforce: a pilot study of common metrics for evaluating the clinical and translational award KL2 program. Clinical and translational science, 8(6), 662-667.


Solberg, L. B., Kolb, H. R., Prikhidko, A., & Behar-Horenstein, L. S. (2018). Ensuring representativeness in competencies for research coordinators. Clinical researcher (Alexandria, Va.), 32(5).


Murphy, S. L., Byks-Jazayeri, C., Anderson, E., Lyden, A., Miner, J., Hahn, J., & Lynn, B. (2017). 2376: Best practices for social and behavioral research: Developing a competency-based elearning course in good clinical practice. Journal of Clinical and Translational Science, 1(S1), 48-49.


Hoffman, M., Maas, J., & Johnson, L. (2017). 2353: Competency-based training program for Research Professionals. Journal of Clinical and Translational Science, 1(S1), 48-48.evaluating the clinical and translational award KL2 program. Clinical and translational science, 8(6), 662-667.


Behar-Horenstein, L. S., Prikhidko, A., & Kolb, H. R. (2018). Advancing the Practice of CRCs: Why Professional Development Matters. Therapeutic innovation & regulatory science, 2168479017750128.


Kolb, H. R., Kuang, H., & Behar-Horenstein, L. S. (2018). Clinical research coordinators’ instructional preferences for competency content delivery. Journal of Clinical and Translational Science, 1-6.


Mathur, A., Brandt, P., Chalkley, R., Daniel, L., Labosky, P., Stayart, C., & Meyers, F. J. (2018). Evolution of a functional taxonomy of career pathways for biomedical trainees. Journal of clinical and translational science, 2(2), 63-65.