In the autumn of 2006, Yale became one of a handful of medical schools to receive a CTSA grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a boon to translational research here and around the country. Once the program was up and running we asked writer Jill Max to take a look at the new Yale Center for Clinical Investigation, created and funded with the goal of supporting clinical research. This enhanced emphasis on translational research also prompted us to explore the tension between basic-science research—knowledge for knowledge’s sake—and the bench-to-bedside goals of those who start out with a cure or treatment in mind. Boston-based science writer Pat McCaffrey talked to scientists at Yale and found that, largely due to a flat NIH budget, scientific research is going through hard times. But some scientists also worry that basic research is taking a back bench to translational research.
More than two years ago, in May 2006, we heard from Kinari Webb, M.D. ’02, who asked if we’d be interested in an article about her work in Indonesia. Four years out of medical school, Webb had laid the groundwork to open a clinic in a remote area of Borneo. In addition to her desire to provide medical care to an underserved area, she and her husband, a Harvard ecologist, wanted to link that to preserving the region’s rain forests. For more than a year Jill Max has been in contact with Webb, following the progress of the clinic, which opened in the summer of 2007.