2017.08.11 CTSA Program Update


August 11, 2017





We hope that everyone’s summer is going well!  We appreciate the feedback that we received on the CTSA Program and want to make sure that we provide continued opportunities for discussion. As indicated on the July 24th CTSA Program call, NCATS seeks to enhance communications with our community and will use some of the upcoming open Steering Committee and Principal Investigator (PI) calls to hear your perspective and begin discussing your concerns.


NCATS Director Dr. Austin will participate in the August 23rd PI call, which will include an open discussion of the CTSA Program training initiatives. In addition, the call will feature a presentation from one of the CTSA Program hubs. These hub presentations are selected by the SC co-chairs based on your submissions.


We have asked for feedback from the CTSA Program hubs on the following 4 topics:

  • Draft CTSA Program Governance document
  • Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) on distributing surveys in the CTSA Program
  • Ideas for the fall Program meeting (scheduled for October 26, 2017 in Washington DC)
  • Feedback on the role that the CTSA Program could play in addressing the current opioid crisis


We are collating your responses now and will report back to you on upcoming calls and in an upcoming newsletter.  Based on feedback received to date, we understand that many of you asked for an in-person discussion of the governance draft document. We will talk with the Steering Committee during the October face to face meeting how to best facilitate such a discussion.


We look forward to working with you on enhancing communication in the CTSA Program. As always, please do not hesitate to contact any of one of us with any questions or concerns.


-The DCI Team






The Atlas Rate Generator (ARG) offers investigators an easy to use portal for calculating cross-sectional population-based rates of Medicare beneficiary diagnoses and medical care across U.S. health care markets and counties.  The ARG provides descriptive utilization rates that can be used for grant pilot data, or novel studies of health care utilization in the elderly and disabled. Analytic specifications are submitted online and then reviewed by a Dartmouth Atlas investigator.  Assuming that the request is within the current capabilities of the Generator, results will be returned to the requestor within 30 days.


David Goodman, MD MS (Co-PI of the Dartmouth Atlas) will discuss the underlying Medicare data, the submission process, and will provide examples of Rate Generator output.


The Atlas Rate Generator can answer questions such as:


  • How many and what proportion of Medicare beneficiaries with a diagnosis of diabetes visited an outpatient clinician in 2015?  And, how did the chances of ambulatory visits vary across health care regions and counties?


  • What were the secular trends in Mohs surgery between 2010 and 2015, and in what regions were the rates of growth highest?


  • How did the national and geographic pattern of admissions for hemorrhagic stroke differ across age, race, and dual eligible status?


The underlying database includes over 20 years of claims files for more than 35 million beneficiaries each year. Users can expand their studies by linking their rates to hundreds of existing Dartmouth Atlas rates.


In addition to the submission portal, the Atlas Rate Generator web site offers resources to guide request development including a video tutorial.  Webinars in the use of the Generator are also offered monthly.  For more information, visit https://synergy.dartmouth.edu/tools/atlas-rate-generator.


Questions? Contact David Goodman.






The Center of Leading Innovation and Collaboration (CLIC) has named their Domain Task Force Liaisons.  These individuals are subject content matter experts who will play an important role in realizing the vision and goals set by the DTFs. The CLIC DTF liaisons are currently shadowing their CLIC C4 Project Manager counterparts to learn more about the DTFs’ operations and to ensure a steady and smooth transition. Over the next two months, the CLIC DTF Liaisons will slowly integrate into the DTF community and will take a more active role in October with background support from C4. CLIC will officially take over all the DTFs in November.


The DTF liaisons will also be supported by call coordinators who will ensure that the administrative logistics of the DTF lead team, full DTF, and workgroup calls are proficiently scheduled and coordinated. They will also work very closely with the subject matter expert on notetaking and tracking activities of the DTFs.


DTF members should continue to work with their C4 Project Manager and utilize the Rocket pages for all DTF activities until further notice.


NCATS would like to welcome the CLIC DTF Liaisons to our CTSA Program community!


CLIC DTF Liaison 

Subject Matter Expert


Scott McIntosh, Ph.D. Workforce Development
Carrie Dykes, Ph.D. Integration Across the Lifespan
Indrani Singh, M.Sc. Collaboration/Engagement
Robert White, M.S. Methods/Processes
Jeanne Holden-Wiltse, M.P.H., M.B.A. Informatics


Questions? Contact Samantha Jonson.






This success story features how the University of Kentucky’s Center for Clinical and Translational Science (CCTS) improved its tracking of publications arising from pilot awards. Read their story on the Common Metrics Implementation website under “Implementation Success Stories.”


The Common Metrics Implementation Success Stories are intended to highlight innovations and offer practical ideas for using the Common Metrics, Results-Based Accountability framework and other project resources and tools to support continuous improvement at a hub.  Tufts is happy to work with member institutions to help develop a story for the series.


If you’d like to share your hub story, please contact Nick Moustakas (nmoustakas@tuftsmedicalcenter.org).



CTSA Program hubs have until August 30, 2017, to enter their 2016 Common Metric values and update their Turn-the-Curve (TTC) plans for the first three metrics: Careers in Clinical and Translational Research, IRB Duration, and Pilot Funding and Publications. Updating your TTC plan includes describing any changes to underlying factors, the progress you have made by implementing selected strategies, and the results of any additional measures you are using to track progress with these strategies.


Questions? Contact Samantha Jonson.






The CTSA Program Consent Working Group is conducting a landscape analysis of broad consenting policies and practices at the CTSA Program hubs.  CTSA Program Steering Committee members have had the opportunity to review the survey and make comments.  CTSA Program hub investigators and administrators should receive an e-mail by the end of this week from Paul Harris (Vanderbilt) asking your hubs to participate in the survey.  Please look for this e-mail.


Questions?  Contact Kathleen Brady.


SAVE THE DATE: European Reference Networks for Rare Diseases Webinar

NCATS Office of Rare Diseases Research (ORDR) will be hosting a webinar on the European Reference Network on Rare Neurological Diseases (ERN-RND) on Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017. Holm Graessner, Ph.D., MBA, Coordinator, ERN-RND, and Enrique Terol of the European Commission will be presenting.


Please save the date: Wednesday, September 13, 2017, from 10 -11 a.m. ET. Click here to register for the webinar.


The purpose of this presentation is to provide information on the European Reference Networks (ERNs) for Rare Diseases, and to explore potential areas for research collaboration with the European Union. The ERNs are virtual networks involving healthcare providers across Europe, whose aim is to tackle complex or rare diseases and conditions that require highly specialized treatment and concentrated knowledge and resources.  The ERNs are organized around a range of thematic issues, such as bone disorders, childhood cancer, and neurological diseases. There are currently 24 ERNs within the European Commission, involving more than 900 highly-specialized healthcare units from over 300 hospitals in 26 member states.


Investigators, clinicians, and professional staff from the CTSA Program hubs with an interest in rare diseases and forming international research partnerships are especially encouraged to attend.  Please contact Kinshasa Letts at NCATS should you have questions or need assistance with registering and/or participating in the Webex.


Questions?  Contact Kinshasa Letts.


IRDiRC Goals 2017-2027: New rare disease research goals for the next decade

The International Rare Diseases Research Consortium (IRDiRC) is proud to announce their new vision and goals for 2017-2027.  The new vision is to “enable all people living with a rare disease to receive an accurate diagnosis, care, and available therapy within one year of coming to medical attention.”


IRDiRC, officially launched in 2011, was originally conceived with two main goals: to contribute to the development of 200 new therapies and the means to diagnose most rare diseases by the year 2020. The last six years have seen considerable progress on these goals. The goal to deliver 200 new therapies was achieved in early 2017 – three years earlier than expected – and the goal for diagnostics is within reach. These accomplishments were celebrated at the 3rd IRDiRC Conference in Paris in February 2017.


In light of this, IRDiRC initiated a year-long collaborative process to devise a new set of global rare disease goals for the upcoming decade. IRDiRC aims to accelerate progress in the short-term with three goals for the Consortium, and ambitiously push the limits of what is currently possible in the longer term with an audacious vision for the field, all with rare disease patients’ lives in mind.


Learn more about IRDiRC by visiting their website here.






Applications for “Radical Solutions to the Opioid Misuse Epidemic” Innovation Lab due August 20


Through the Administrative Supplement to Enhance Network Capacity, Collaborative Opportunities for the CTSA Program, the University at Buffalo Clinical and Translational Science Institute in partnership with the Vanderbilt Institute for Clinical and Translational Research will test and measure innovative methods of fostering team science while helping early-career researchers from diverse disciplines generate novel, successful grant proposals.


The first of two Translational Workforce Development Innovation Labs will be held in Buffalo, NY in November and a site that is still to be determined in April 2018. They are designed for early-career investigators who: (1) have completed their training, (2) have well-developed expertise and (3) will benefit from participating in transdisciplinary collaborations.


The five-day residential Innovation Labs focus on grand challenges in clinical and translational research. The focus of Innovation Lab Buffalo will be Radical Solutions to the Opioid Misuse Epidemic. The labs will bring ~25 participants from across the CTSA Program network together with facilitators and content experts who guide participants through the early stages of proposal development.


All applicants will be asked to participate in the broader aims of the project, which will assess collaboration attitudes and behavior and output in order to better understand and enhance collaboration in the future.


This project is supported by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under award number UL1TR001412 to the University at Buffalo.


The call for applications can be found here.



Upcoming NCATS Events

Event Date Location
CTSA Program Steering Committee Webinar 8/14, 9/11, 11/13, 12/11/2017

Second Monday of the month;

2:30 – 4 p.m. ET

CTSA Program PI Webinar 8/23, 9/27, 11/22, 12/27/2017

Fourth Wednesday of the month;

2 – 3 p.m. ET

NCATS Advisory Board and Cures Acceleration Network Review Board 9/7/2017 Bethesda, MD
European Reference Network on Rare Neurological Diseases (ERN-RND) Webinar 9/13/2017

10 – 11 a.m. ET

CLOSED: CTSA Program Steering Committee In-Person Meeting 10/25/2017 Washington, D.C.
CTSA Program Meeting 10/26/2017 Washington, D.C.








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