What are the implications of health care reform for population health research in New York State? How are the new computational and informatics tools dealing with the "big data" challenges in clinical research? How are scientists and families working together to speed the discovery of effective treatments for rare diseases that primarily affect children? Does the scientific community need to do better at communicating how research is improving human health? How does National Institutes of Health's new National Center for Translational Sciences (NCATS) help the academic community accelerate drug development? These and other timely issues were front and center at the 2013 Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) symposium, hosted on November 8 by the Harold and Muriel Block Institute for Clinical and Translational Research at Einstein and Montefiore (ICTR).
The goal of the CTSA, the largest program housed within NCATS, is to accelerate the process of translating scientific discoveries into treatments for patients and to create healthier communities. "The symposium provides opportunities to share insights into the challenges of improving human health," said Dr. Harry Shamoon, Einstein's associate dean for clinical and translational research and principal investigator of the CTSA grant. The daylong event, titled "Transforming Clinical and Translational Research," drew an overflow crowd to the Price Center/Block Research Pavilion's LeFrak Auditorium. It featured talks and panel discussions by senior physicians, scientists and policymakers from Einstein, NIH, industry, and other leading healthcare institutions.
Among the experts who traveled to Einstein to participate were Dr. Christopher Chute, professor of medical informatics at the Mayo Clinic, in Rochester, MN; Dr. Christopher Austin, director of NCATS; Dr. Nirav Shah, commissioner of the New York State Department of Health; Dr. Emil Kakkis of the Everylife Foundation and Ultragenix Pharmaceutical, in Novato, CA; and Dr. Carolyn Greene, deputy commissioner of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Additionally, a poster session showcased research projects by Einstein scholars and trainees supported by the ICTR's education and career development programs.
Einstein faculty members joined with guest participants for panel discussions, led by the College of Medicine's Dr. Ellie Schoenbaum, director of the Block ITCR's Ph.D. in clinical investigation and clinical research training programs, and Dr. Marla Keller, professor of medicine and of obstetrics & gynecology and women's health, and director of the ICTR clinical investigation services core. Einstein panelists included: Dr. Parsa Mirhaji, director of clinical research informatics at Einstein and Montefiore; Dr. Hal Strelnick, Einstein's assistant dean for community engagement; Dr. Harry Ostrer, professor of pathology and of genetics; Dr. Anne Bresnick, professor of biochemistry, whose laboratory is developing a novel therapy for metastatic cancer; and Dr. Steven Walkley, professor of neuroscience and director of Einstein's Rose F. Kennedy Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center, whose groundbreaking work on Niemann-Pick Type C disease was featured recently in the Wall Street Journal.
"This critical funding allows us to sustain the momentum of our work to support Einstein and Montefiore scientists and research centers," said Dr. Shamoon.
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