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December 15, 2023

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Top 10 Takeaways from the Fall 2023 CTSA Program Annual Meeting

From November 6 through November 8, 2023, the CTSA Fall Program Annual Meeting took place in Arlington Virginia with the theme “Real World Data (RWD) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to Advance Translation”. Diverse topics related to the theme were covered, including Decentralizing Clinical Trials, AI in Clinical Research, RWD and Real-World Evidence, and Training in the Science of Translation.


Over 400 scholars from CTSA hubs gathered for the meeting, which aimed to provide hub leadership opportunities to network with their peers, share best practices for practical applications, and gain knowledge through resource updates. NCATS Director of Clinical Innovation, Dr. Mike Kurilla recapped the meeting in this month’s Mike’s Blog post and recalled that discussions throughout the weekend were “intense and engaging”.


To close the meeting, Dr. Kurilla presented the top 10 takeaways from the weekend in conjunction with his CTSA Program Steering Committee Co-Chair, Dr. Duane Mitchell. The takeaways are listed below in descending order, each from a different session of the meeting



The mission of the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H) is to achieve the Moon Shot for Health - acceleration of the entire health ecosystem - by supporting the development of high-impact solutions to society's most challenging health problems. The CTSA program is uniquely aligned with ARPA-H's Moon Shot for Health and has the potential to be an impactful partner - providing insights and expertise in clinical, translational and implementation science, community engagement, DEIA, workforce development, and training.

Session: Keynote

Speakers: Dr. Micheal Kurilla, NCATS, Dr. Renee Wegrzyn, Director ARPA-H, Dr. Andrea Bild, Project Manager ARPA-H


By addressing challenges and solutions to data quality and biases, training and career development, and barriers to diversity, equity and justice, the use and application of RWD/RWE can transform biomedical research, healthcare, and health for our population.

Session: Real World Data/Real World Evidence (RWD/RWE)

Speakers: Dr. Nicole Weiskopf, Oregon Health & Science University, Dr. David Rehkopf, Stanford University, Dr. Maia Hightower, Equality AI


There are multiple - often fundamentally different - measures of costs and utilization, and the selection of measures for any analysis is critical to drawing conclusions that will be relevant to stakeholders.

Session: Cost and Utilization Data

Speakers: Dr. David Meltzer, University of Chicago, Dr. Josh Fessel, NIH, Dr. Tina Hernandez-Boussard, Stanford University 


To advance public health analytics, we will need large-scale, longitudinal, near-real time, integrated, and linked RWD to create a holistic picture of each individual person and the population at large.

Session: Public Health Data

Speakers: Dr. David Rehkopf, Stanford University, Dr. Ruth O'Hara, Stanford University, Dr. Peter Elkin, State University of NY at Buffalo 


Decentralized Clinical Trials (DCTs) and digital technology have the potential to bridge significant gaps with marginalized populations in clinical research and healthcare.

Session: Decentralized Clinical Trials 

Speakers: Dr. Vesna Garovic, Mayo Clinic, Dr. Maria Apostolaros, PhRMA, Dr. Diana Thomas, Westpoint, Dr. Hilary Martson, FDA, Dr. Apurv Soni, University of Massachusetts, Dr. Paul Harris, TIN, Vanderbilt University Medical Center 


Translational science will amplify translational research.

Session: Stimulating a Conversation About Translational Science Research (RC2 and Element E)

Speakers: Dr. Saif Khairat, University of North Carolina RC2, Dr. Paul Estabrooks, University of Utah RC2, Dr. Phil Polgreen, University of Iowa Element E, Dr. Jay Pandit, Scripps Element E, Dr. Karen Bonuck, Albert Einstein College of Medicine Element E


We should embrace patient authority over their own data, using innovative governance and policy advances, a diversity of RWD sources, and partnerships with commercial tech to "flip" how we do observational research and clinical trials nationally.

Session: Patient Generated Data

Speakers: Dr. Melissa Haendel, University of Colorado, Dr. Robert Toto, UT Southwestern, Dr. Manisha Desai, Stanford University


Though our systems, policies, and practices have needed to evolve to meet the ever-changing challenges of clinical and translational science, a continued focus on administrative collaboration and enhancement can drive innovation, leading to collective impact in addressing issues of health improvement, access, and equity for all populations.

Session: Administrators

Speakers: Lorri Schieri, University of Pennsylvania, Gerry Stacy, University of Chicago, Dr. Tesheia Johnson, Yale University, Daru Ransford, University of Miami, Royce Sampson, Medical University of South Carolina, Dr. Stephan Bour, CCOS, Dr. Jennifer Crocker, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Cassandra Burrows, Rutgers Health, Chris Larsen, Oregon Health & Science University, Maija Neville, Rockefeller University, Sandra Burks, University of Virginia


Training in translational science requires a balance to model behaviors, didactic competencies, and experiential learning and also necessitates learning how to work with others from different backgrounds and training experiences.

Session: Training in Translational Science

Speakers: Dr. Cynthia Morris, Oregon Health & Science University, Dr. Amanda Vogel, NCATS, Dr. Micheal Holinstat, University of Michigan, Dr. Erika Cottrell, Oregon Health & Science University, Dr. Cynthia Morris, Oregon Health & Science University, Dr. Patrick Lyons, Oregon Health & Science University, Dr. Jonathan Constance, University of Utah


Advances in artificial/augmented intelligence have the potential to be one of the most disruptive influences on clinical and translational research defining 21st century medicine. To fully realize the opportunities, overcome the challenges, and mitigate the threats will require multidisciplinary teams all thinking and working together. The teams will need to be more diverse than traditional CTS teams, and the CTSAs are well positioned to be leaders.

Session: AI in Clinical Research 

Speakers: Dr. Tina Hernandez-Boussard, Stanford University, Dr. Hythem Sidky, AstraZeneca, Dr. Eirini Schlosser, Dyania Health, Dr. Charles Friedman, University of Michigan


The 2023 Fall Program Annual Meeting was a success and underscored how much the hubs have accomplished this year. This was highlighted in the poster session, which was a testament to all the innovative work being performed not only by hub scholars, but also their trainees. Read more about the poster winners and those who received honorable mentions in this recent news article


As always, we are proud to feature the work CTSA hubs have accomplished and look forward to promoting the new and groundbreaking work that will be done in the coming year. We look forward to seeing many consortium members in Las Vegas for the Spring Meeting in April 2024!


Research Equity, Accessibility, Diversity, and Inclusion (READI) Programming Offered by Case Western Reserve University CTSC


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Coordination, Communication, and Operations Support (CCOS) is funded by theNational Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, National Institutes of Health.

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