BU-BRIDGE: Clinical and Translational Science Institute

The Boston University Clinical and Translational Science (BU-BRIDGE) Institute integrates, connects, and expands research and programs across traditional academic departments and schools. The institute acts as 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 CTSA award allows the Institute to build on existing strengths to create an environment linking faculty members, trainees, and university programs to speed the translation of innovations in medical science in order to improve maintenance of health and diagnosis and treatment of diseases and share these innovations with other University-based Clinical and Translational Science Awards. The BU-BRIDGE environment also supports 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 significantly enhances 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.

A national consortium of medical research institutions, funded through Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSAs), is working together and shares a common vision to:

Improve the way biomedical research is conducted across the country
Reduce the time it takes for laboratory discoveries to become treatments for patients
Engage communities in clinical research efforts
Train the next generation of clinical and translational researchers
The CTSA initiative is led by the National Center for Research Resources at the National Institutes of Health.

The BU-BRIDGE Institute is led by David Center, MD, Associate Provost for Translational Research, and Chief, Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care Medicine, the Gordon and Ruth Snider Professor of Pulmonary Medicine, and Professor of Medicine and Biochemistry at Boston University School of Medicine. The BU-BRIDGE Institute is supported by the NCRR ( U54 1RR025771, KL2RR025779, and TL1RR025769).

Community Engagement is a major component of the “BU-BRIDGE” Clinical and Translational Science Institute, and one of the Institute’s five Divisions. The Institute’s Director of Community Engagement is Raul I. Garcia, DMD, Professor and Chair of Health Policy & Health Services Research, Boston Universtiy Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine, and Director of the Northeast Center for Research to Evaluate and Eliminate Dental Disparities (CREEDD).

Community engagement is a hallmark of the BU-BRIDGE Institute, launched in May, 2008. Its community engagement function has benefited from many long-standing relationships with our communities and our experience in community-based participatory research. The Institute’s Community Engagement aims are to: enhance public trust in clinical and translational research; engage the community in setting research priorities; engage community members in partnerships and collaborations; build community-based capacity for conducting clinical and translational research; educate researchers and trainees about community outreach and engage community members in training activities.

The Institute’s community engagement efforts are building on our own successful models of community-campus partnerships. Examples include the community-based research programs being led by Dr. Raul Garcia as part of the NIDCR-supported (U54 DE019275) Northeast Center for Research to Evaluate and Eliminate Dental Disparities, focused on community-based interventions to improve the oral health of young children; and programs being led by Dr. C. Robert Horsburgh as part of the CDC-supported (U48 DP00058) “Partners in Health and Housing-Prevention Research Center (PHH-PRC)” which focuses on health promotion in Boston public housing, through the use of peer Resident Health Advocates.