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NIH grant supports Milwaukee-wide research partnership

July 14, 2010 College News - The National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced today it has awarded a $20 million

Additional CTSA Leadership Statements
Jacquelyn Fredrick, President and CEO, BloodCenter of Wisconsin
Peggy Troy, MSN, RN, President and CEO, Children's Hospital of Wisconsin
William D. Petasnick, President and Chief Executive Officer, Froedtert Hospital
Rev. Robert A. Wild, S.J., President, Marquette University
Hermann Viets, PhD, President, Milwaukee School of Engineering
Carlos E. Santiago, PhD, Chancellor, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Robert Beller, Director, Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center

grant to The Medical College of Wisconsin, representing a consortium of eight Milwaukee institutions to create a Milwaukee-wide research partnership that shares a common vision, resources and staff to advance biomedical research, patient care and education.

The goal of the five-year funding, awarded through the NIH’s Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) program, is to create a borderless, complementary and synergistic biomedical research enterprise in Southeast Wisconsin that will accelerate the translation of research discoveries into new and improved medical treatments.

The NIH’s National Center for Research Resources awarded a perfect score of 10 to the Milwaukee consortium’s grant proposal, as a national model for multi-institutional collaboration. The Medical College of Wisconsin will coordinate the grant, administered through a new academic entity recognized by all partner institutions: the Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) of Southeast Wisconsin.

The eight CTSI member organizations are: the Medical College, Marquette University, the Milwaukee School of Engineering, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, the BloodCenter of Wisconsin, Children’s Hospital and Health System, Froedtert Hospital, and the Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center. The partner institutions have worked for three years to develop and establish the CTSI.

The CTSI’s charge is to advance the new academic discipline of clinical and translational sciences and facilitate training and education of the next generation of health care professionals focused on accelerating biomedical discoveries into patient care treatment.

“NIH review committees rarely award a perfect score to even the best grant proposals,” said John R. Raymond, MD, President and CEO of the Medical College. “The fact that the Milwaukee consortium’s proposal received this score reflects the sound planning, strong infrastructure and achievable goals outlined in our proposal. It also reflects the NIH’s enthusiastic support for this national model of community-wide academic and clinical collaboration to advance medical discoveries and patient care treatments.”

The Medical College was one of nine centers nationwide to receive the new CTSA funding. The other eight centers designated by the NIH are:

  • Children’s National Medical Center, Washington, D.C.
  • Georgetown University with Howard University, Washington, D.C.
  • University of California, Irvine
  • University of California, San Diego
  • University of Massachusetts, Worcester
  • University of New Mexico Health Science Center, Albuquerque
  • University of Southern California, Los Angeles
  • Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond

Since 2003, the NIH has designated 55 CTSA centers nationwide at leading academic medical centers.

“This recognition by the NIH elevates The Medical College of Wisconsin and its academic and health care partners into the upper echelon of academic medicine nationwide,” said Jonathan I. Ravdin, MD, the Medical College’s Dean and Executive Vice President. “Our partnership in Milwaukee is unique. We have a joint commitment to share resources, talent, knowledge and vision with a goal of translating medical discovery into new patient therapies and treatment.”

"The CTSA institutions provide opportunities for clinical and basic researchers to train and work as interdisciplinary teams which are essential for developing and delivering new treatments and prevention strategies," said NCRR Director Barbara Alving, MD. “We are pleased that The Medical College of Wisconsin will be joining the consortium and look forward to unique contributions that will enrich translational research.”

“This award empowers us to bring together biomedical firms, educational, patient care, patient advocacy and civic organizations, as well as local and state governments, to create a meaningful and effective community engagement to achieve the goals of the grant and contribute to advance the health of Wisconsin’s citizens,” said Reza Shaker, MD, principal investigator for the grant and Medical College Senior Associate Dean for Clinical and Translational Research.

“In addition to developing new and better patient treatments, the eight partners are part of an inter-institutional organization working to educate, train and mentor future generations of clinical investigators,” he added. “The CTSI welcomes research collaborations with area health care professionals and scientists.” Dr. Shaker is also Director of the Clinical and Translational Science Institute of Southeast Wisconsin and the Joseph E. Geenen Professor and Chief of gastroenterology at the Medical College.

The CTSI’s research portfolio currently includes over 140 protocols. Faculty researchers at the four academic institutions and the Blood Research Institute and the Children’s Research Institute will have access to each member’s research resources and may seek adjunct faculty appointments at the partnering colleges or universities. A $720,000 award from the Medical College’s Advancing a Healthier Wisconsin program has already funded 17 collaborative research studies currently underway in Milwaukee.

Five Translational Research Units (TRU), which provide space and equipment to conduct outpatient research studies with nursing support, have been established. They are:

  • A pediatric unit at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin;
  • A geriatrics unit at the Zablocki VA Medical Center;
  • Both an adult unit and a community unit at Froedtert Hospital. The community unit has developed small, temporary research facilities at Milwaukee clinics serving minority and medically-underserved populations;
  • A mobile unit – a dedicated, research-equipped van that provides flexibility to go to sites beyond existing clinics. The mobile unit and community unit serve as complementary programs.

Academic programs also will be expanded through the CTSA grant. In the fall of 2009, The Medical College of Wisconsin launched a PhD program in Basic and Translational Research and a Master of Science degree in Clinical and Translational Science. Marquette University is developing a PhD program in Clinical and Translational Rehabilitative Health Sciences for health professionals.

The Medical College is also expanding its Master of Science degree in Clinical and Translational Science to include coursework at Marquette, MSOE and UWM. Three program tracks are:

  • Clinical Epidemiology and Outcomes Research
  • Translational Research
  • Development of Drugs, Devices and Diagnostics

The partner institutions also will develop training programs to improve elementary and high school science programs and expand outreach to talented students. The successful SMART (Students Modeling A Research Topic) Teams program at MSOE will also be expanded. The SMART Teams program engages teams of high schools students and their teacher working with research scientists to design and construct physical models of proteins being investigated in research laboratories. The program spurs interest and encouragement to direct promising students into scientific careers.

Programs are also being developed to encourage junior faculty members to pursue research careers. Mentored clinical and translational research awards have been given to four junior faculty members (three at the Medical College and one at UWM). These awards provide salary support to young investigators pursuing careers in clinical research.

The NIH plans to fund approximately 60 Clinical and Translational Science Awards nationwide by 2012.

Additional CTSA Leadership Statements

“This CTSA funding is very important for our region. For the BloodCenter of Wisconsin, it allows our organization to work jointly with our partner hospitals and academic institutions to translate basic research into clinical research and subsequently to better patient care. We are very proud to be part of this collaboration which brings together a dedicated community of physicians, scientists and healthcare practitioners who are dedicated to advancing patient care.”
-Jacquelyn Fredrick, President and CEO, BloodCenter of Wisconsin


“Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin invests millions of dollars in pediatric research each year in the effort to find better health care for our children. Research by investigators at Children’s Hospital has increased by 92 percent over the last six years. The resources we have created to enhance pediatric research in Wisconsin will continue to provide critical infrastructure for all translational research through the CTSA grant. We are excited to continue to work closely with our research partners throughout the community to bring greater resources to medical and public health research to discover causes, treatments and prevention of disease.”
-Peggy Troy, MSN, RN, President and CEO, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin


“What defines Froedtert Hospital as an academic medical center is its enduring partnership with The Medical College of Wisconsin and our shared commitment to patient care, research and medical education. Our dedication to bringing medical research to the bedside will be amplified by the creation of a Clinical and Translational Science Institute in Milwaukee. This unique collaboration harnesses the collective strengths of outstanding local organizations and unites all of us around the goal of enhancing the health of the people of southeastern Wisconsin and beyond.”
-William D. Petasnick, President and Chief Executive Officer, Froedtert Hospital


“The CTSA grant will facilitate the continued development of an infrastructure that fosters collaborative research among the institutions of higher education and health care organizations in the Milwaukee area. Marquette is pleased to be part of the collaboration that includes sharing equipment and laboratories, joint faculty appointments and the support and training of young clinical investigators in order to advance patient care within our community and beyond.”
-Rev. Robert A. Wild, S.J., President, Marquette University


“Milwaukee is fortunate to have many top-notch academic, health care and engineering professionals and resources in the area. It is logical and practical for us to work together on research projects to improve patient care. Each institution brings a unique set of knowledge and skills to the Clinical Translational Science Institute, making it a very powerful collaboration. From discovering new principles to applying those means to practical human means, I am pleased that MSOE is part of the work happening in the CTSI, which will improve the health of Wisconsin residents.”
-Hermann Viets, PhD, President, Milwaukee School of Engineering


"The Clinical and Translational Science Institute is an excellent example of how the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee is advancing collaborative research with The Medical College of Wisconsin and other significant regional institutions. It further substantiates UWM's need to be in closer proximity to the Medical College, which we will do through our development of Innovation Park in Wauwatosa."
-Carlos E. Santiago, PhD, Chancellor, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee


“The men and women of the Zablocki VA take our mission to take care of veterans very seriously. It’s an honor to collaborate with other professionals in the medical community to come up with breakthroughs that will have a profound impact on those who have served their country and expect nothing but the best. The Clinical and Translational Science Institute will give us more opportunities to partner with The Medical College of Wisconsin, Marquette University and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee to create meaningful treatment in the areas of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and stroke recovery. We’re also excited that this may mean future collaborations with the best minds from the Milwaukee School of Engineering, the BloodCenter of Wisconsin, Children’s Hospital and Health System and Froedtert Hospital. We owe nothing but the best for those currently serving, and those who gave of themselves from World War II through Vietnam and other wars. Every dollar and every minute we spend on research and treatment will lead to a more fulfilling life for our veterans, and for that, I am sincerely grateful.”
-Robert Beller, Director, Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center
© 2014 Medical College of Wisconsin
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