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UAMS, TRI Honor Community Partners at 2017 Celebration

Pastors Johnny Smith and Jerome Turner accepted the Chancellor’s Community Research Partner Award for the Phillips and Jefferson Counties Faith Task Forces.

The UAMS Translational Research Institute honored UAMS’ many Arkansas community partners Nov. 17 with its fifth annual Community Partner Celebration.

During the event at the Centre at University Park in Little Rock, the Phillips and Jefferson Counties Faith Task Force, led by pastors Johnny Smith and Jerome Turner, received the Chancellor’s Community Research Partner Award. The task force is using a faith-based intervention study with UAMS to prevent depression and promote emotional wellness in the Arkansas Delta.

The award, which focuses on partnerships that involve research, was presented by interim UAMS Chancellor Stephanie Gardner, Pharm.D., Ed.D.

Nominees for the Chancellor’s Award also included Ashley County Cares and the Arkansas Birthing Project.“I enjoyed reading the applications for these,” Gardner said during her keynote address to about 150 attendees at the Centre at University Park in Little Rock. “In my book they were all winners.”

Other awards/winners:

  • The Community Based Organization of the Year: Samaritan Community Center
    The center aids underserved populations in the Rogers area through community garden development, pantries, community meal programs, snack pack program, resale shops, and social and dental services.
  • Community Advisory Board of the Year: Northwest Arkansas Marshallese Community Health Advisory Board
    The board provides significant direction and consultation to the UAMS Office of Community Health and Research via active involvement with community based participatory approaches related to diabetes self-management education, diabetes prevention programs, physical activity, medication adherence, and the translation of health materials and health survey instruments.
  • Community Partnership Student: Steven Keller
    Keller devoted his time to a student project working with a research team to develop home exercise programs for Marshallese community health workers. This project allowed the community health workers to teach exercise to the Marshallese population.
  • Institutional Health Partner Award: University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service
    Since 2010, the Clinton School has awarded five practicum teams, groups of students who spend two semesters completing a project directly related to the work of an organization, to the Access to Healthy Foods Research Group at the Arkansas Children’s Research Institute. The students completed work and provided the research group with deliverables that the team would not have had time to do.

“It’s just a joy to know so many people across our state are engaged in this effort of trying to make our communities healthier,” Gardner said. “It’s a celebration of the extraordinary service that non-UAMS organizations provide to UAMS.”

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Marshallese Community Health Advisory Board members Rumina Lakmis and Rotha Mejbon-Samuel.

Hilary Trudell of the Clinton School of Public Service

Steven Keller

Maxie Carpenter of the Samaritan Community Center

TRI Names Four Implementation Science Pilot Awardees

The UAMS Translational Research Institute (TRI) has approved research pilot study awards for four researchers totaling $200,000.

The annual awards of up to $50,000 each are made to projects with the strongest likelihood of leading to improved health and health care. This is the first year TRI has offered awards for pilots focused on implementation science projects.

Implementation science is the study of methods to promote the systematic uptake of research findings and other evidence-based practices into routine practice to improve the quality and effectiveness of health services.

Awardees were selected using a Study Section modeled after an NIH review panel, with internal, external and community reviewers. The awardees are:

Pearl McElfish, Ph.D., MBA, Associate Vice Chancellor, Northwest Regional Campus, Director of the Office of Community Health and Research, Co-Director of the Center for Pacific Islander Health, Assistant Professor, Internal Medicine
Pilot project: Implementation of Family Model DSME in an Underserved Marshallese Population in a Clinical Setting

Benjamin Teeter, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Pharmacy Practice, Center for Implementation Research
Pilot project: Testing Implementation Strategies to Support Community Pharmacist-Initiated Prescription and Distribution of Naloxone to Reduce Overdose by Opioids

Jeremy Thomas, Pharm.D., Associate Professor, Department of Pharmacy Practice
Pilot project: Implementation of Clinical Pharmacy Services Delivered via Telehealth to Federally Qualified Healthcare Centers

Kristin Zorn, M.D., Associate Professor, Gynecology Oncology and Genetics
Pilot project: An Implementation Strategy to Increase Appropriate Referrals for Genetic Counseling and Testing Among Patients at High Risk for Hereditary Cancer Syndromes


September/October TRIbune

In our latest TRIbune we’re excited to share more about our recent funding from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) of the National Institutes of Health. We also announce our latest KL2 Scholar awardees. We have four this year, which is the most awarded since 2009, thanks to support from the UAMS Psychiatric Research Institute and Arkansas Children’s Research Institute! You can read more about their research projects on our website. This month’s TRIbutary story about an Arkansas Cancer Coalition grant to Kristin Zorn M.D., is a testament to the essential work of our Community Engagement program.  Our TRI & Me features Michael Bailey, a research program manager at TRI. And we report the latest publication citations for TRI-supported research.

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TRI Releases First eBook for Researchers!

The UAMS Translational Research Institute (TRI) has released its first Research Recruitment and Resources eBook.

The 22-page web-based booklet was designed to give researchers a user-friendly guide to resources to facilitate their work. Participant recruitment and other critical research services are covered, with links throughout to additional information and contacts in each area.

Check it out!



New Pilot Awards Available for CTSA Inter-institutional Studies

The Western States Consortium, which includes the UAMS Translational Research Institute (TRI) and four other Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) institutions, has issued the call to all faculty for pilot award applications.

In addition to TRI, the Western States Consortium members are the University of Kentucky, University of New Mexico, University of Kansas Medical Center, and University of Utah, all part of the national CTSA consortium, supported by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). (Note: The University of Kansas Medical Center is not participating in this pilot program.)

The purpose of the pilot awards is to promote inter-institutional collaboration by funding innovative, translational research projects that involve two or more of the four Western States Consortium members. Awards of up to $25,000 will be provided by each participating institution.

Applications are due Jan. 19, 2018, at 5 p.m., (CT). Please submit to

For additional details, view the Request for Applications (RFA) document. If you have any questions, please contact Nia Indelicato at or 501-614-2287.

Key Dates:

  • IRB Submission Deadline: Nov. 24, 2017
  • Application Deadline: Jan. 19, 2018 5:00 pm Central Time
  • Notice of intent to fund at each CTSA: Feb. 2, 2018
  • Just In Time Period: Feb. 2, 2018 – Feb. 9, 2018
  • Submission to NIH for Prior Approval of Human Subjects: Feb. 12, 2018
  • Funding Cycle: April 1, 2018 through March 31, 2019

Download the Request for Applications

TRI Names Four New KL2 Scholars

Four early career UAMS researchers were recently selected to receive KL2 Mentored Research Career Development Scholar Awards.

The KL2 Scholar program provides two yea

rs of research training to junior faculty. It provides 75 percent salary support and up to $25,000 per year for research, tuition, travel and education. The scholars, all from the UAMS College of Medicine, are:
  • Lisa Brents, Ph.D., instructor, Department of Phamacology and Toxicology.

Her research is focused on improving buprenorphine treatment of opioid use disorder during pregnancy by reducing fetal exposure to an active metabolite of buprenorphine, norbuprenorphine.

KL2 project title: The Metabolic and Pharmacodynamic Profile of Deuterated Buprenorphine

  • Sufna John, Ph.D., assistant professor, Department of Psychiatry.

Her research is examining the impact of early childhood education factors on the effectiveness of therapy services for preschool-aged children who present with disruptive behaviors.

KL2 project title: Improving Outcomes for Young Children with Behavior Disorders: A Coordinated Care Model

  • Rosemary Nabaweesi, Dr.P.H., M.B.Ch.B., M.P.H., assistant professor, Department of Pediatrics, Center for Applied Research and Evaluation (CARE).

Her research is focused on injury-related infant mortality prevention and reduction of health disparities for rural and underserved populations.

KL2 project title: Developing Safe Sleep Interventions for Rural Underserved Communities

  • Carolina Schinke, M.D., assistant professor, Department of Internal Medicine, Myeloma Institute.

Her research is attempting to determine yet undiscovered pathologic pathways in multiple myeloma and to identify new therapeutic targets.

KL2 project title: The Role of Pl-IF 19 as a Promoter of Tumorigenicity and Therapeutic Target in Multiple Myeloma

Fifteen KL2 Scholar applications were reviewed by a study section (committee) made up of faculty members from UAMS and other research institutions. Five finalists were interviewed by senior members of the panel.

This year’s awards are supported by UAMS institutional funds provided to TRI, and funding from Arkansas Children’s Research Institute and the UAMS Psychiatric Research Institute.


UAMS TRI Receives $3.5 Million To Help Speed Discovery

TRI Director Laura James, M.D., speaks to researchers at the recent TRI Open House.

The UAMS Translational Research Institute has received funding for a Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) totaling $3,497,558 through Aug. 31, 2018.

The 11 months of funding comes from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). It will enable UAMS to continue its mission of accelerating scientific discovery with innovative programs that help researchers translate their findings into new knowledge and treatments, said Translational Research Institute Director Laura James, M.D., UAMS associate vice chancellor for clinical and translational research.

“This is a significant federal research award for Arkansas,” said James, also principal investigator for the award. “We are very excited and proud to receive this award so that we can expand translational research at UAMS and improve the health of Arkansans through collaboration with our partner institutions – the Arkansas Children’s Research Institute and the Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System.”

The Translational Research Institute will apply for five years of CTSA funding in May 2018. If the May application is fully funded, the award would likely total more than $25 million. The first CTSA grant was awarded to UAMS in 2009.

Receipt of the $3.5 million award ensures that UAMS remains a member of the national CTSA consortium, made up of 62 academic research institutions across the country.

“In essence, the CTSA is the most important NIH grant an institution can receive,” James said. “Consortium members work very closely with each other to develop transferable solutions that address many of today’s greatest human health challenges.”

As a CTSA-funded site, UAMS directly helps researchers overcome long-standing obstacles to their work and provides patients tremendous opportunities to participate in cutting-edge clinical trials, in which they receive new medications and/or benefit from new treatments that are not available commercially. In addition, UAMS will continue to harness extremely large data sets, in concert with other institutions, to develop state-of-the-art solutions to health challenges. For example, these types of studies allow UAMS to use available data to understand if one treatment is better than another treatment for complex health care problems, such as mental illness, diabetes and other diseases that are common in Arkansas.

“The UAMS Translational Research Institute has been a significant contributor to the CTSA consortium in helping it meet its goals,” said Lawrence Cornett, Ph.D., UAMS vice chancellor for research. “This award ensures that UAMS clinical and translational investigators have ready access to diverse resources and approaches that the Translational Research Institute provides. Moreover, our researchers will benefit from resources available at over 60 other institutions within the consortium.”

In the last three years, the Translational Research Institute has launched or improved several research resources that are now being used by the UAMS research community:

  •, a volunteer research participant registry and website, was established in collaboration with lay members of the community so that researchers have access to a pool of over 3,600 individuals who have indicated an interest in hearing more about research volunteer opportunities.
  • Arkansas Clinical Data Repository, a research data warehouse with de-identified patient data that researchers can use to understand patterns in data that will provide a framework to guide future studies testing new research treatments or approaches.
  • UAMS Profiles, an online researcher-to-researcher networking/collaboration tool, which gives researchers a user-friendly way to locate potential research partners locally and nationally.
  • TRI Portal, a cost-saving electronic request system for researchers, which allows the researcher to select from a menu of over 30 unique services and receive customized help with a research-related task in an efficient manner.

The Translational Research Institute (TRI) partners with the UAMS Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health to provide a robust community engagement program to increase public involvement and participation in research at UAMS. Representative components of the program include:

  • TRI’s Community Advisory Board, a diverse board whose members represent multiple grassroots segments of the state’s population. The board provides critical viewpoints, including their cultural and logistical perspectives that researchers need to make their studies operational.
  • TRI’s Community Scientist Academy, which teaches the public how research is conducted and provides readiness training so that community members can serve as consultants to researchers and help plan the design and tools used in the research.

Additional components of the new CTSA award include funds to start a new informatics research consultation service, a new research subject recruitment program, and statistical services to ensure studies are properly designed to answer research questions. Other new programs that will be provided by the grant are dissemination services, so that the findings of research studies are communicated to numerous audiences, including research participants, the local community, other researchers, treating physicians and national audiences.

“The new grant allows us to get services to researchers, but more importantly, it allows UAMS, and our research partners, to tackle the health challenges we face here in Arkansas,” James said. “Our mission goes beyond research and really helps us as an academic community take better care of patients. The secondary effects of this grant will have a very important impact on Arkansas that includes benefits to our local workforce, economy and productivity as Arkansans.”

The NCATS/NIH award is under Award Number U54TR001629.

UAMS is the state’s only health sciences university, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; hospital; northwest Arkansas regional campus; statewide network of regional centers; and seven institutes: the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, Myeloma Institute, Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, Psychiatric Research Institute, Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging and Translational Research Institute. It is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. UAMS has 2,834 students, 822 medical residents and six dental residents. It is the state’s largest public employer with more than 10,000 employees, including 1,200 physicians who provide care to patients at UAMS, its regional campuses throughout the state, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, the VA Medical Center and Baptist Health. Visit or Find us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Instagram.

TRI Calls for Community Partner Award Nominees

Naomi Cottoms and the Tri County Rural Health Network won the Chancellor’s Award in 2016.

Do you know a UAMS community or institutional partner that should be recognized for their collaboration with UAMS? The Translational Research Institute (TRI) is seeking nominations from faculty and staff for its fifth annual UAMS Community Partner Celebration on Nov. 17. This celebration recognizes the outstanding community partners that have helped make our various endeavors possible, whether it involves research, education and training, or services.

This year, we are happy to announce four new awards:

  • Community Partnership Student Award
  • Institutional Health Partner Award
  • Community-Based Organization of the Year Award
  • Community Advisory Board of the Year Award

We’re also seeking nominees for the Chancellor’s Community Research Partner Award.

Learn more and submit your community partner nominees!

See our honorees from past years.

The deadline for submissions to recognize community partners and submissions for the Chancellor’s Community Research Partner Award is Oct. 12. For more information, contact Camille Hart or 501-454-1467.

TRI Research and Career Development Seminar Series Begins Sept. 22

The TRI Research and Career Development Seminar Series resumes Friday, Sept. 22, 8:30 – 10 a.m., in the ED II Building, G112 A/B.

Jean McSweeney, Ph.D., R.N., will present, “ARresearch – UAMS’ Research Volunteer Registry.” Learn about the ARresearch Registry, how TRI recruits, and how you can use it for your research.

McSweeney is associate dean for research and professor and co-director of the Ph.D. program in the UAMS College of Nursing. She is the TRI liaison to Recruitment Innovation Centers and faculty leader for the TRI Recruitment Unit Team.
The seminar series is sponsored by the TRI KL2 Mentored Research Career Development Program.

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TRI Faculty Recognized for Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion Efforts

Drs. Beatrice Boateng, Ph.D., (second from left) and Martha Rojo, Ph.D., R.N., were joined following the awards ceremony by UAMS Interim Chancellor Stephanie Gardner, Pharm.D., Ed.D., (far left) and Billy R. Thomas, M.D., Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Inclusion.

UAMS Translational Research Institute faculty Beatrice Boateng, Ph.D., and Martha Rojo, Ph.D., R.N., were among those recognized Wednesday at UAMS’ 2017 Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion Awards Ceremony.  Boateng won the faculty award, while Rojo was a faculty nominee. Both are dedicated to their work for TRI and making health care and research more diverse and inclusive at UAMS.

As an evaluator for TRI, Boateng works to improve diversity among researchers at UAMS. In 2016, she led a campus-wide survey to assess the institutional climate on diversity and inclusion, including its effect on the recruitment and retention of a diverse academic body.

Additional indicators of Boateng’s commitment to diversity are:

  • Her work with the UAMS Initiative for Maximizing Student Diversity (IMSD) where she collaborates with the Graduate School to provide workshops on developing electronic career portfolios. This project supports underrepresented minority students in UAMS’ biomedical graduate programs.
  • Her service as a mentor on the National Research Mentoring Network (NRMN), which is made up of mentors and trainees nationally and provides trainees with evidenced-based mentorship.

“Dr. Boateng’s diversity efforts expand beyond individual characteristics to cross-professional inclusion,” her nomination letter states. In collaboration with UAMS’ Mary Aitken, M.D., and with the support of TRI, Boateng, an associate professor in the College of Medicine Department of Pediatrics, has been working for more than two years to enhance mentorship at UAMS. She kicked off these efforts by facilitating a mentor training session led by visiting faculty from the University of Wisconsin and followed up by receiving facilitator training in 2016. In 2017, Boateng spearheaded the first independent training at UAMS, a one-day overview workshop for mentor development. Her efforts to include a diverse group of faculty in the effort and the positive impact it had on attendees was evident in their feedback.

Rojo serves on TRI’s Recruitment Unit Team, where she has led efforts to recruit research participants from the Hispanic community.

An assistant professor in the UAMS College of Nursing, Rojo “brings a focus and commitment in her many roles at UAMS with one common denominator: the priority to engage and integrate special populations into clinical research and educational outreach programs,” her nomination letter states.

Wednesday’s awards ceremony kicked off a series of UAMS events related to diversity and inclusion during September.