CTSC Reaches Out Into Communities

Hosts regional community engagement workshop

When the National Institutes of Health last year selected Weill Cornell Medical College to establish and lead the Clinical and Translational Science Center, the Medical College accepted a mission to facilitate collaborative research projects that would quickly yield new, effective patient treatments, and to also branch out deep in surrounding communities to serve those most neglected by our health care system.

On Thursday, Sept. 25, the CTSC convened a Regional Community Engagement Workshop, inviting institutions from all over the Northeast to discuss how best to engage surrounding communities in their research efforts.

The workshop included panel discussions on national models of community engagement, building community partnerships and institutional capacity for community engagement. One of the greatest challenges for the CTSC to overcome is educating the public at the community level of the intricacies of biomedical research.

Dr. Julianne Imperato-McGinley, program director of the CTSC at Weill Cornell, as well as professor of medicine, said that more organizational models must be explored in order to make biomedical education relevant to all.

"The CTSC will provide insight into breaking the barriers that inhibit research," Dr. Imperato-McGinley said. "We have a responsibility to be bold and innovative."

Dr. Guthrie Birkhead, deputy commissioner of the New York State Department of Health, and the workshop's keynote speaker, remarked on the methods his office uses to interface with both the community and academic medical centers in general.

"New York state's public health office is seeking to bring academia and public health together," Dr. Birkhead said.

Sheila Gutter, Ph.D., the director of the Community Engagement Research Office of the CTSC, organized and hosted the event. The event was sponsored by the National Center for Research Resources of the NIH and funded by the Association for Prevention Teaching and Research.

Funded through a prestigious $49 million Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) the largest federal grant ever awarded to Weill Cornell the CTSC consists of a unique multidisciplinary collaboration between a diverse group of institutions. Led by Weill Cornell Medical College and Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences, the new Center also encompasses the Cornell University Cooperative Extension in New York City (CUCE-NYC) a key partner in community engagement that is led by Executive Director Don Tobias; NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center; Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC); Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS); Hunter College School of Nursing; The Center for Study of Gene Structure and Function of Hunter College, City University of New York; and an additional six Weill Cornell-affiliated hospitals.