Georgia CTSA's Certificate Program in Translational Research Builds Diverse Careers

The Certificate Program in Translational Research (CPTR) bridges the “disconnect between advances in basic science research and translation of clinical and translational research data to real-world settings.” Building diverse careers in clinical and translational research: Evaluation of a certificate program in translational research, recently published in the Journal of Clinical and Translational Science, evaluated the experiences of trainees in the Georgia CTSA CPTR program by tracking the trainee competency, publications, grants, and careers in clinical and translational research. The study also interviewed CPTR trainees to as part of the qualitative evaluation to collect contextual data about their sustained careers in clinical and translational science.

Georgia CTSA Research Education program executive committee members Dawn Comeau, PhD, Jessica Alvarez, PhD, Cam Escoffery, PhD, Hannah Eisen, Thomas Ziegler, MD, and Henry Blumberg, MD, Emory University; Pamela Bhatti, PhD, Georgia Institute of Technology; and Douglas Paulsen, PhD, and Alexander Quarshie, MD, Morehouse School of Medicine, co-authored the study. Alvarez completed the CPTR program in 2014.

The CPTR is designed to “address scientific roadblocks” in the phases of translational research recognizing that translational phases T1 and T2 may cause scientific research silos. PhD scientists need to be prepared to appreciate medically relevant principles through all phases of translational research to benefit health. To do this, scientists need to be “equipped . . . with the knowledge and skills to facilitate the translation of biological knowledge into tools to improve health.” The CPTR successfully provides this training. 

Comeau states, “The evaluation of the CPTR showed how the program’s training positively impacted the careers of clinical and translational scientists. The trainees expressed value in learning from peers and mentors who are dedicated to improving the translation of scientific discovery into effective interventions for human health. Many stated that the CPTR was essential for their career as an independent investigator. Overall, an evaluation like this demonstrates the importance of investing time and resources into training programs like the CPTR.”  

The evaluation concluded that programs such as the CPTR “are needed to train investigators to advance biomedical discoveries into population health.” It found that after the CPTR, trainees were more confident in 22 program competencies. Trainees published more than 290 peer-reviewed articles and received over $20 million in grants from the NIH, the U.S. Department of Defense, and other funders including foundations. 

The Certificate Program in Translational Research (CPTR) is ideal for an investigator looking to gain the skills to translate their findings from the laboratory to the bedside and into the community.  The CPTR is a multidisciplinary program for PhD students, postdocs, residents, fellows, and faculty who seek to conduct research at the interface between basic science and clinical medicine.

The Georgia CTSA is an inter-institutional magnet that concentrates basic, translational, and clinical research investigators, community clinicians, professional societies, and industry collaborators in dynamic clinical and translational research projects. Emory engaged three of its close academic partners – Morehouse School of Medicine, Georgia Tech, and UGA – to form the Georgia CTSA. It is one of about 50 in a national consortium striving to improve the way biomedical research is conducted across the country. The consortium, funded through the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) and the National Institutes of Health’s Clinical and Translational Science Awards, shares a common vision to translate laboratory discoveries into treatments for patients, engage communities in clinical research efforts, and train the next generation of clinical investigators.

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