BUMC, BMC Receives Clinical and Translational Science Award from NIH

Contact: Gina M. Digravio, 617-638-8491 | gina.digravio@bmc.org

Boston, MA–The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded one of 14 Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) for 2008 to a team based at Boston University Medical (BUMC) and Charles River Campuses and Boston Medical Center (BMC). These awards, together with 12 CTSAs awarded in 2007, and 12 awarded in 2006, form the core of an NIH effort to build a national consortium of select centers that will “transform how clinical and translational research is conducted,” ultimately enabling researchers to provide new and better treatments more efficiently and quickly to patients.

The Boston University Clinical and Translational Science (BU-BRIDGE) Institute will integrate, connect and expand research and programs across traditional academic departments and schools. The institute will be a bridge between disciplines to facilitate interactions by incorporating multiple key programs that support the university-wide commitment to a home for translational research.

“The BU-BRIDGE Institute will build on a strong foundation of relationships and trust that presently exists. Moreover, we expect the Institute and its community engagement function to have a transformative effect on clinical and translational research at BUMC by infusing community-based needs and perspectives throughout the Institute’s work,” said David Center, MD, principal investigator for this project and associate provost for Translational Research, the Gordon and Ruth Snider Professor of Pulmonary Medicine at BUSM and Chief, Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Medicine at BMC. “Importantly, the Institute will provide the administrative structure and process, as well as financial resources, to significantly extend and enhance our successful partnering with our community,” Center added.

The CTSA will allow the Institute to build on existing strengths to create an environment linking faculty, trainees and university programs to speed the translation of innovations in medical science to improve maintenance of health and diagnosis and treatment of diseases and share these innovations with other University based Clinical and Translational Science Institute’s. The BU-BRIDGE environment will also support the bi-directional development and translation of ideas that begin in the clinic to the BU scientific community and back to identify new ways to improve health and delivery of health care services. Moreover, the Institute will significantly enhance existing partnerships with Boston’s community health centers, transforming the conduct of clinical and translational research by infusing it with community based perspectives and needs.

“Our program is a confirmation of the close collaboration among the three Boston University Medical Campus schools, Boston Medical Center, the Boston HealthNet Health Centers and Boston University’s Charles River Campus,” said Karen Antman, MD, dean of Boston University School of Medicine and provost of Boston University Medical Campus.

“With more than half of NIH’s funding allocated for basic research, the CTSA consortium is perfectly poised to help move discoveries in the laboratory to improved patient care. The consortium serves as the bridge in this process that allows researchers to perfect and refine existing treatments through interdisciplinary teams that extend to the clinic and community,” said NIH Director Elias A. Zerhouni, MD. “Through the consortium, we are better able to leverage expertise and resources across the CTSA institutions, and ultimately maximize NIH’s investment in basic research, which should remain a top priority.”

BUMC and BMC have a long and rich history of engagement with its community, including serving as Boston’s safety-net health care provider and in its leadership role in community-based care through the Boston HealthNet, a partnership among BUMC and Boston’s community health centers. This longstanding relationship includes the provision of health care and also training physicians and dentists, and conducting community-based clinical and translational research.
Participating Institutions and Community Partners:

• Boston University
• Boston Medical Center
• Veterans Administration, Boston Healthcare System
• Framingham Heart Study
• Boston HealthNet
• National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories
• Northeast Center for Research to Evaluate & Eliminate Dental Disparities
• Partners in Health and Housing Prevention Research Center