The CCTST Integration Committee
The establishment of the CCTST Integration Committee was to help researchers formulate strategies to improve their research, overcome environmental challenges and build collaborations. The core Committee, composed of senior research faculty from across the University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center, carries a broad range of expertise. Most committee members are responsible for managing those research services of greatest utility to clinical and translational researchers.
Each Integration Committee meeting is fully customized to the guest or guests. Typically, one researcher receives an invitation to briefly present their work and any challenges that they’ve faced. The distribution of their CV, identified need(s) and supporting documents to committee members happens in advance. At the meeting, the group brainstorms ideas for accelerating the research. This might be through linkage to key collaborators, help in navigating mentor-mentee relationships, or identifying support services that are available. On occasion, the Integration Committee may host a group of researchers focused on a common topic in order to identify opportunities for cross-disciplinary collaboration. Other alternatives include meeting with senior leaders to identify mutual interests and opportunities for a symbiotic relationship, or meeting with faculty interested in changing directions and who might be looking for external opinions.
Service does not end at the meeting. A Committee member assigned to support the guest longitudinally, follows up periodically and tracking progress. Formal evaluation of the program in general and of each individual case is ongoing through the CCTST Evaluation Core. Follow-up surveys have shown that investigators feel that the help of the Committee has been greatly beneficial to their research and career development.
“Just knowing that this amazingly accomplished group of researchers cared enough to sit down with me and were available down the road was invaluable,” said one participant. “Although they could not remedy all of my issues, I had support to work through these barriers.”
Since it began meeting in 2013 as a pilot project, over 68 investigators at all levels have benefitted from Integration meetings and support, including 22 in FY16. Of the total, 51 were from the University of Cincinnati, 11 from Cincinnati Children’s, four from UC Health, one from the Cincinnati Veterans Affairs Medical Center, and one from Interact for Health. As a testament to the Committee’s success, demand has grown sufficiently that it is important for investigators to schedule in advance.