In 2004, more than a year before the National Institute of Health (NIH) Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) was announced, Robert J. Alpern, Dean and Ensign Professor of Medicine for the Yale School of Medicine, initiated a strategic planning process to evaluate and further the status of clinical and translational research at the Yale School of Medicine. Two major goals that emerged from the strategic planning process were to expand and centralize the training of the next generation of clinical and translational scientists and to provide a robust infrastructure that would promote innovative and collaborative research directed at improving patient care.
This effort set the stage for a “transformed” clinical research structure at Yale in the form of the Yale Center for Clinical Investigation (YCCI). Launched in 2005, YCCI was created specifically to support and facilitate clinical and translational research and training across the entire medical campus. The School of Medicine was the only academic medical center in New England among the 12 institutions across the nation that received CTSAs in 2006. The grants were inaugurated as part of the Roadmap for Medical Research, an ambitious effort to streamline translational research. Today there are 62 CTSA hubs that now form a national consortium funded by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), a part of the NIH.
Thanks to support from the CTSA, the School of Medicine, the University, and Yale-New Haven Hospital, YCCI has developed into an administrative home for the CTSA and a hub for clinical and translational research at Yale. By expanding existing programs, forging collaborations with other NIH-funded centers and establishing new initiatives, YCCI has made much progress in transforming clinical and translational research during the past 10 years.
One of our most successful endeavors has been the YCCI Scholars program for junior faculty members, which has provided 105 outstanding young researchers with training, support and mentoring. Since 2006, these Scholars have published a total of 1,800 papers. The program has also played a key role in successful applications for more than $240 million of independent grant funding. Our Office of Research Services gives researchers ready access to more than 30 services ranging from concept development to data analysis/publication. Currently, YCCI provides services to 900 faculty members; ORS alone provides almost 1,500 services per year to approximately 600 faculty members conducting research in humans. Over the past five years, our pilot award program has awarded a total of $2.9 million to 135 recipients and groups of recipients across 26 different Yale programs and departments. The pilot program has been highly successful, leading to 117 grant applications and 238 publications over the same period. We have also invested in cutting edge genomics and imaging technologies for Yale’s core research facilities, partnered with community organizations to increase the participation of New Haven’s diverse population in clinical research, and developed programs to support the entire spectrum of T1-T4 research. These include partnering with the School of Public Health to provide enhanced support in biostatistics and study design; working with industry to accelerate the development of novel therapeutics; and playing a leading role in the selection, implementation and management of an informatics infrastructure that includes integration of state-of-the-art clinical data and research management systems.
All told, YCCI has developed 33 new programs and strategic initiatives that didn’t exist prior to the CTSA and made major investments that have expanded or enhanced the resources of 22 additional programs that span the institution. These initiatives have vastly changed the clinical and translational research landscape at Yale and across the entire Yale New Haven Health System.