In 2004, more than a year before the NIH’s Institutional 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 January 2006, 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 55 CTSA institutions that now form a national consortium. When fully implemented in 2012, the CTSA initiative is expected to provide $500 million annually to 60 centers.
Thanks to support from the CTSA, the School of Medicine, the University, and the Yale-New Haven Hospital, YCCI has developed into a home 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 four years. As a result of these efforts, almost $200 million per year of Yale’s NIH grant support is now directly connected to YCCI.
One of our most successful endeavors has been the YCCI Scholars program for junior faculty members, which has provided 44 outstanding young researchers with training, support and mentoring. Since 2006, these Scholars have published a total of 144 papers. The program has also played a key role in successful applications for $47.5 million of independent grant funding. Our Office of Research Services provides researchers with a wide range of support services and functions and in 2009/10 357 projects and 225 investigators were supported. We have funded 29 pilot awards in translational interdisciplinary research, novel methodologies, core technologies, biostatistics/bioinformatics, and community-based research that have resulted in 61 publications and 23 grants amounting to more than $14 million. Among our many partnerships are an initiative with the School of Public Health to provide enhanced support in biostatistics and study design, research collaborations with the Schools of Medicine, Nursing and Public Health directed at improving health in the local community and beyond, and the development of a new model with the Yale Cancer Center for the support of clinical trials that allows us to share resources. In the years ahead, we look forward to building upon our initial successes and continuing to have a positive impact on clinical and translational research.