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OHSU, Kaiser Permanente Northwest Partner To Win $55 Million Grant To Transform Medical Research

   Portland, Ore.


Today the federal government's National Institutes of Health will announce that Oregon Health & Science University, in partnership with Kaiser Permanente's Center for Health Research (KPCHR), is one of the first institutions in the country to receive a Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA).

The highly competitive $55 million award to OHSU and KPCHR makes them among the first of a group of collaborating institutions across the United States that will transform medical research. The national consortium's main goal will be to more quickly and efficiently advance basic science lab discoveries into treatments and cures that directly benefit patients. In the upcoming years, approximately 60 CTSA awards may be granted across the country. OHSU and KPCHR formed the new research partnership in applying for the research effort. The grant funds programs and resources that bring together medical researchers from every arena to share their expertise, technologies and ideas. 

The grant will fund a new home for clinical and translational research in Oregon. Translational research takes basic science from the laboratory, to the patient and the community and back again to the lab.  In fact, one of the driving forces behind the CTSA program is the benefit to be derived from bringing cross-disciplinary research to bear on health problems.

"This grant will completely transform the way that clinical research is conducted by creating central resources for translational research at top academic health centers across the country. Other institutions to be funded in this first round of awards include the University of California San Francisco, Duke, Yale and the University of Pennsylvania.  At a national level, these institutions will come together to share ideas and experiences.  In addition to supporting more research, the funding will also revolutionize how we train future generations of researcher-clinicians in the United States," explained Eric Orwoll, M.D., a Professor of Medicine at OHSU and the director of the new clinical and translational research consortium site.

"The Oregon site will develop and coordinate programs that support clinical and translational research, including laboratories, a clinical research center, biostatistics, bioinformatics, a pediatric program, an ambitious educational program and a major community-based medicine element. Having all of this expertise under one roof will allow for increased collaboration both within the university and also with other institutions."

Kaiser Permanente's Center for Health Research is a major partner in the new research entity. Through the consortium site, researchers and clinicians at Kaiser Permanente and OHSU will establish more collaborative research ties. In addition, Oregonians taking part as research participants at Kaiser and OHSU will now have greatly increased access to clinical trials conducted jointly.

"The whole point of this NIH initiative is to transform the way we do research so we can improve the health of all Americans," said Mary L. Durham, Ph.D., director of Kaiser Permanente's Center for Health Research and associate director of the clinical translational research consortium site.  "The American people, through our congressional representatives, have long supported medical research, but they expect and deserve practical results.  NIH is now asking researchers to change the way they work so Americans can benefit much more quickly from new medical discoveries. We welcome this opportunity, and we intend to meet this challenge."

The CTSA site will focus broadly on patient-oriented research crossing different specialties. This means that -for example-- scientists studying the nervous system in the laboratory will more easily work together with others studying patients with brain disorders, and perhaps with bioengineers developing new medical devices. By sharing ideas and resources, medical discoveries can advance more rapidly. Medicine, dentistry, nursing and OHSU's new biomedical research program in the OGI School of Science & Engineering will all be integrated. In addition, OHSU students will have a unique and broader educational experience in regards to clinical and translational research.

 "The development of the national consortium represents the first systematic change in our approach to clinical research in 50 years," said NIH Director Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D. "Working together, these sites will serve as discovery engines that will improve medical care by applying new scientific advances to real world practice. We expect to see new approaches reach underserved populations, local community organizations, and health care providers to ensure that medical advances are reaching the people who need them."

    While each individual CSTA-granted institution has its own specialized goals, the shared goals of all CTSA-granted institutions in the country will be to:

*    Develop better designs for clinical trials to ensure that patients with rare as well as common diseases benefit from new medical therapies
*    Produce enriched environments to educate and develop the next generation of researchers trained in the complexities of translating research discoveries into clinical trials and ultimately into practice  
*    Design new and improved clinical research informatics tools
*    Expand outreach efforts to minority and medically underserved communities
*    Assemble interdisciplinary teams that cover the complete spectrum of research--biology, clinical medicine, dentistry, nursing, biomedical engineering, genomics and population sciences 
*    Forge new partnerships with private and public health care organizations

    "The impact of the CTSA consortium will be far greater than the number of awards made," said Barbara M. Alving, M.D., NCRR acting director. "We're already seeing transformative changes and new partnerships developing at institutions as they prepare to participate. This consortium will spur innovation, integration, inclusion and dissemination--not only among institutions receiving these awards--but at all organizations involved in health care throughout the country."

    The CTSA initiative grew out of the NIH commitment to re-engineer the clinical research enterprise, one of the key objectives of the NIH Roadmap for Medical Research. The CTSA consortium will be led by the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR), a part of the NIH.

The new research entity will physically exist in three locations: The OHSU Hatfield Research Center on Marquam Hill, the new Center for Health & Healing in Portland's new South Waterfront neighborhood (scheduled for completion this winter), and the Center for Health Research on Kaiser Permanente's North Interstate Campus.
"OHSU is incredibly proud to be chosen by the NIH as a pilot site in this exciting transformation of clinical and translational research," said Dan Dorsa, Ph.D., vice president for research at OHSU. "This selection clearly speaks to the quality of our research and the high regard for scientists at OHSU."

"Among the institutions applying for this award, OHSU and Kaiser Permanente were the only ones to propose a true partnership between an academic health center and a non-academic health care organization," said Andrew Lum, M.D, president and executive medical director of Northwest Permanente.  "I believe this partnership model offers incredible promise for moving new scientific discoveries much more quickly into the hands of practicing clinicians, making new treatments and disease prevention programs available to hundreds of thousands at OHSU, Kaiser Permanente, and other health care institutions throughout Oregon."

    "One of the most exciting aspects of this award is the fact that Oregonians will witness the benefits firsthand in the form of greater access to state-of-the-art health care treatments," said OHSU President Joe Robertson, M.D., M.B.A. "We're also very pleased with the enhanced collaboration with other institutions across the region that this effort will encourage."
Kaiser Permanente's Center for Health Research, founded in 1964, is a nonprofit research institution whose mission is advancing knowledge to improve health.  Kaiser Permanente Northwest is a group practice health care organization serving the health care needs of more than 485,000 people in Oregon and Southwest Washington.  

Oregon Health & Science University is the state's only health and research university, and only academic health center. As Portland's largest employer and the fourth largest in Oregon (excluding government), OHSU's size contributes to its ability to provide many services and community support activities not found anywhere else in the state. It serves more than 184,000 patients, and is a conduit for learning for more than 3,900 students and trainees. OHSU is the source of more than 200 community outreach programs that bring health and education services to each county in the state.

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