May 14, 2018—(BRONX, NY)—Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Health System have received $25 million from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), to continue support for the Block Institute for Clinical and Translational Research (ICTR). The new grant marks the third, five-year Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) that the ICTR has received to support its mission to accelerate the translation of research discoveries into improved health care.
Harry Shamoon, M.D.“This new grant is a tribute to the Einstein and Montefiore community of physicians and scientists who are committed to improving health and healthcare in the Bronx,” says Harry Shamoon, M.D., director of the ICTR and associate dean for clinical and translational research at Einstein. “Years before Einstein and Montefiore officially integrated, the ICTR helped stitch the two institutions together, leveraging their respective strengths to further our joint research enterprise.”
The goal of the ICTR is to break down the barriers researchers face to making new discoveries, speed those scientific findings into clinical practice, and increase the adoption of evidence-based healthcare. During its first ten years, the ICTR built an extended network of facilities and faculty that incubate, expedite and advance research.
Marla Keller, M.D.“The days of the lone researcher are long gone,” says Marla Keller, M.D., professor and vice chair of research in the department of medicine and associate director of the ICTR. “The complexity inherent in conducting high-quality translational and clinical research today is nearly impossible for one person or one lab to navigate on their own. Our goal is to make the necessary resources accessible for a team of investigators—and to offer expertise that some of them didn’t know they needed. Navigating through clinical trials can be particularly challenging, and we have combined CTSA and institutional resources to help streamline the work here and with national research networks.”
Among the many offerings developed or nurtured by the ICTR are a highly integrated core of education and career development programs in clinical and translational research, a modern patient specimen biorepository, biostatistical and research design services, community research review and engagement, clinical research and trial resources, life course and child-health research facilitation, and a biomarker and analytic core. Each of these were built from the same key ingredients—a program leader with a vision, collaboration with multiple stakeholders, and institutional co-investment.
“This new grant is a tribute to the Einstein and Montefiore community of physicians and scientists who are committed to improving health and healthcare in the Bronx.”– Harry Shamoon, M.D.
A prime example of the ICTR’s success is the recently established Montefiore Einstein Center for Health Data Innovations (CHDI), led by Parsa Mirhaji, M.D., Ph.D., director of Clinical Research Informatics. CHDI has established a new generation of artificial intelligence and deep learning systems that position Montefiore as a leader in using big data to improve healthcare, and also opens doors to new, innovative research programs.
The CHDI also enables initiatives that demand high-quality data from medical systems, mobile technology, and personal health for research and care. During the next five years, a new ICTR core focused on stakeholder engaged research will help connect research to community and patient expertise, and enable projects that integrate with clinical care. This new core will closely align with Montefiore’s goals as a learning healthcare system, underpinned by Einstein’s basic and translational research foundation.
Critical elements of the ICTR are novel opportunities in education, training and career development. In addition to the Ph.D. track in clinical investigation, which is embedded in Einstein’s biomedical graduate program and supported by the CTSA grant and the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, there is a CTSA-funded career development program that links with the M.Sc. program for clinical research, which has been instrumental in building up the physician-scientist workforce at Einstein and Montefiore.
Paul Marantz, M.D., M.P.H.“With new and evolving approaches and methodologies in clinical and translational investigation, it is imperative that we equip the next generation of clinical scientists to make discoveries that will improve health and healthcare,” says Paul Marantz, M.D., M.P.H., associate dean for clinical research education, professor of epidemiology & population health, and associate director of the ICTR.
The ICTR at Einstein and Montefiore is one of more than 50 institutions supported by the Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) Program at the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), part of the NIH. (The grants are UL1TR002556, KL2TR002558 and TL1TR2557.)