The Year in Review: UF CTSI 2017

The UF CTSI’s 2017 accomplishments, recapped below, were included in the two-part January 2018 issue of On the Same Page:

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CTSI Director David R. Nelson, MD
CTSI Director David R. Nelson, MD

Continuing to serve as a catalytic hub for translational research, the CTSI last year helped more than 1,300 investigators, graduate students, trainees and research professionals navigate the research landscape, find potential collaborators and access CTSI services. About 200 scientific publications were generated about research facilitated by CTSI resources.

In 2016, the CTSI developed a three-year strategic plan to operationalize five goals in pursuit of its mission. Highlighted accomplishments toward advancing each goal are summarized below. CTSI accomplishments reflect the dedication of hundreds of faculty, staff and students from across the university and at partners throughout the state.

Improving the UF Translational Research Environment

As research funding has grown across the institution, so has the research volume and sustainability of the CTSI’s Clinical Research Center, which has increased its active protocols from 82 in 2012 to 176 in late 2017, including 77 multisite studies involving other Clinical and Translational Science Award institutions. Outpatient visits increased from 2,446 to 4,208 in the same period.

In 2017, the CTSI expanded its institutionwide role in clinical research management and facilitation by completing Phase 1 of an enterprise-level OnCore clinical trials management system implementation and establishing a new Office of Clinical Research, with joint oversight by the CTSI and the UF Health Cancer Center.

The CTSI also launched a Translational Drug Development Core, and the Network Science Program led a novel, network-informed pilot intervention to foster team science.

Collaborating with the UF Informatics Institute, the CTSI launched a new pilot opportunitythis spring as a result of a 2017 roundtable series that convened more than 70 translational thought leaders, methodologists and informaticians to discuss opportunities and challenges related to advanced data capabilities and methods development in translational health research.

Translational Workforce Training and Education

The CTSI Translational Workforce Development Program has taken a leadership role in reorganizing graduate, postgraduate and junior faculty development in clinical and translational science at UF. In 2017, the CTSI launched five of six career interest teams and supported more than 40 faculty members and trainees across its KL2, TL1, TRACTS and Mentor Academy programs. The TL1 Predoctoral Training Program appointed its first cohort composed exclusively of interdisciplinary trainee teams, and the Biomedical Informatics Program launched its Ph.D. program in the fall. The CTSI’s novel K College, T Team and F Force concepts have grown to convene more than 150 early-stage investigators as well as T and F directors and trainees across multiple colleges, thus enhancing support and creating a sense of community for scholars, trainees and mentors. New K Awards at UF have increased from seven in 2014 to 14 in 2016. Similarly, T32 Programs at UF have increased from nine in 2014 to 18 in 2017. In 2018, a new T32 postdoc training program will launch to support applied research and development in genomic medicine, developed by the CTSI’s Personalized Medicine and TWD programs.

A trainee (Katherine Cisneros) in the TL1 program presents at the 2017 CTSI Research Day.
A trainee (Katherine Cisneros) in the TL1 program presents at the 2017 CTSI Research Day.

Learning Health System Initiatives

The past year yielded progress in multiple areas designed to strengthen UF’s learning health system capacity:

Precision Medicine: The UF Health Personalized Medicine Program continued to develop, implement, study and refine methods that allow genetic information to be used as a routine part of patient care. CTSI resources facilitated an ongoing project at UF Health Jacksonville to study a point-of-care pharmacogenetics testing approach to guide clopidogrel therapy for heart stent patients, an IGNITE-funded project to study genomic-assisted proton pump inhibitor use in GI clinics, and two CTSI Translational Pilots.

Translational Pilots: CTSI supported five new projects through its NIH-funded Translational Pilot Program. In July, the CTSI’s Admin Core, Implementation Science Program and Personalized Medicine Program organized a retreat to develop recommendations for operationalizing a CTSI-facilitated process through which the UF Health research and clinical missions can come together to develop and vet learning health system collaborations, starting with 2018-19 Translational Pilots.

Clinical Informatics: CTSI and UF Health advanced a number of clinical informatics priorities, including three Epic/MyChart research projects; development of a plan and oversight committee for future Epic research builds; development of OnCore-Epic-REDCap-Vestigo interfaces; integration of patient-reported outcomes into the electronic health record (CTSA collaborative innovation award led by Northwestern); and deployment of CTS-IT’s open-source UF Health Quality Improvement Project Registry and CQI Approver (more than 500 users, and more than 250 projects registered to date).

Integrated Data Repository and Consent2Share: The UF Health Integrated Data Repository continued to expand, with 7,585 i2b2 queries in 2017 and data representing more than 1.5 million patients in Gainesville and Jacksonville. IDR data includes whether patients have agreed to participate in Consent2Share, which offers UF Health adult and pediatric patients an opportunity to allow UF researchers to contact them about research studies for which they might be eligible based on information in their electronic health record. Expansion is ongoing, with more than 47,000 patients enrolled to date.

Statewide and National Collaborations

CTSI made significant strides in expanding statewide and national collaborations to amplify the collective impact of translational research for the state and nation:

OneFlorida Clinical Research Consortium: UF CTSI joined the NIH All of Us Research program with a 2017 grant led by the University of Miami in collaboration with UF, Emory and Morehouse. As coordinating center for OneFlorida, CTSI bridges two national research networks — the CTSA consortium and PCORnet. To date, OneFlorida has supported 180 proposals and projects in the planning phase, with 40 applications awarded. In 2017, OneFlorida Data Trust expansion continued (15 million patients), with 126 queries fulfilled and OneFlorida i2b2 instances established.

Joe Selby, executive director of the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, speaks at the OneFlorida Clinical Research Consortium’s 2017 Annual Stakeholder Meeting.
Joe Selby, executive director of the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, speaks at the OneFlorida Clinical Research Consortium’s 2017 Annual Stakeholder Meeting.


Community Engagement: Celebrating its sixth year at UF, HealthStreet has enrolled more than 2,000 members in UF studies since 2011, the majority of whom are racial/ethnic minorities. In 2017, HealthStreet collaborated with 15 CTSAs to disseminate five national Our Community, Our Health town halls. In addition, the Citizen Scientist Program developed and launched a seven-module online curriculum as an Open Educational Resource in 2017.

Multisite Studies: A CTSI liaison team facilitated UF’s participation in the CTSA Trial Innovation Network, including the SMART IRB. In addition, FSU and six other OneFlorida partners joined the SMART IRB, and the OneFlorida IRB approved 20 studies in 2017. Multisite studies facilitated by the CTSI in 2017 include four CTSA Trial Innovation Network proposals; 22 active OneFlorida observational and interventional studies; and the $15 million WARRIOR trial (50 sites) led by Dr. Carl Pepine at UF and funded by the Department of Defense.

Research coordinator Damian Alderman works with Claudia Harris, a participant in the CTSI Citizen Scientist Program.
Research coordinator Damian Alderman works with Claudia Harris, a participant in the CTSI Citizen Scientist Program