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Translational research has traditionally been thought of as the process of moving a discovery in one direction – from the laboratory to the patient. More recently, however, biomedical researchers have recognized the importance of engaging the community in the biomedical discovery process.
     The Atlanta Clinical and Translational Science Institute (ACTSI) is a partnership of educational, research, and health care institutions that involves the community in clinical research that translates laboratory discoveries into advanced treatments for patients.
    David Stephens, MD, vice president for research in the Woodruff Health Sciences Center, is principal investigator of the ACTSI, which is part of the Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) of the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR) of the National Institutes of Health.
     CTSA is a national consortium of medical research institutions working together to improve the way biomedical research is conducted nationwide. Consortium members share a common vision – to reduce the time it takes for laboratory discoveries to become treatments for patients, to engage communities in clinical research efforts and to train clinical and translational researchers.
     “Community engagement brings together a group of leaders who discuss the health care needs of their respective communities,” says Stephens. “We meet with them periodically, and let them know what progress is being made in the laboratory. As an investigator or physician, working with leadership within a community and engaging them directly is an essential part of clinical and translational research.”
     The ACTSI is led by Emory University, along with Morehouse School of Medicine, the Georgia Institute of Technology, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, and Kaiser Permanente Georgia. Other partners include the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Grady Health System, the Georgia Research Alliance, Georgia Bio, the Atlanta Veterans Affairs Medical Center, and the American Cancer Society.
      To hear Stephens’ own words about translational research, use the player at the top left of this page or subscribe to the podcast.

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