For a record fifth year in a row, the Arkansas chapter of the international Society of Clinical Research Associates (SOCRA) has been recognized for ensuring the highest quality research by providing the most continuing education hours of any chapter. The annual Chapter Chairperson Recognition Award was presented to Carrie Chiaro, M.P.H., C.C.R.P., from the UAMS Office of Research Compliance, who co-chairs the SOCRA chapter with Melisa Clark, M.S., C.C.R.P., from the UAMS Office of Research Regulatory Affairs.
SOCRA Executive Director Erich Lukas, MBA, said the Arkansas chapter is the only one of 63 volunteer chapters to win the award five consecutive years.
“The success of the Arkansas chapter is a testimony to the support from Arkansas’ research institutions, the dedication of the chapter’s leaders, and the commitment of the chapter’s program participants,” Lukas said.
SOCRA chapters offer no-cost clinical research continuing education to enhance research quality, to protect research participants, and to improve the health of the global community.
Also during the annual meeting in Montreal, Amy Jo Jenkins, M.S., C.C.R.P., C.C.R.A., C.C.R.C., from the UAMS Translational Research Institute, was elected to the SOCRA Board of Directors. Jenkins, a past chapter chairperson, said the chapter’s continued success is due to the participation, collaboration, and common goals of the state’s research professionals.
“UAMS’ support, particularly from the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research, the Translational Research Institute, Office of Research Regulatory Affairs, and the Office of Research Compliance, has allowed the chapter to flourish over the last five years,” Jenkins said. “While the award is technically given to one person, we know that it is our whole membership and those that support us that contribute to our success.”
The Arkansas chapter provided 22 continuing education credit hours from June 1, 2015, to May 31, 2016.
“The continuing education we provide ultimately improves the quality of research in our state and enhances the experience and protection of our valued participants,” Jenkins said.
The chapter also provides an avenue for career growth and development, including training and resources for new research staff and the opportunity to earn an accredited professional certification (Certified Clinical Research Professional – CCRP) that is recognized internationally by the clinical research industry as evidence of advanced competency in the profession.
The continuing education hours offered by the Arkansas SOCRA chapter also help research staff at UAMS and other sites earn or maintain their Certified Research Specialist (CRS) certification. The CRS certification program, administered by the UAMS Office of Research Compliance, ensures an understanding of, and respect for, the principles of research integrity and the protection of those who participate in research. Although the certification is not required by all departments, UAMS research employees routinely complete the 26 hours of coursework and the comprehensive CRS proficiency exam.
The UAMS Profiles website received a significant upgrade Oct. 16 to improve user experience. Profiles, a faculty networking tool, can be accessed through the TRI webpageTRI.uams.edu, where you’ll find the UAMS Profiles link. If you have any questions, issues, or general feedback, please email the Profiles team at TRIservices@uams.edu.
The Translational Research Institute is seeking nominations from faculty and staff for its fourth annual UAMS Community Partner Celebration on Nov. 18. This celebration recognizes the outstanding community partners that have helped make our various endeavors possible, whether it involves research, education and training, or services.
Get the details and submit your community partner nominees here!
See our honorees from past years. Former honorees will be invited to attend the celebration.
NEW AWARD!!! We are happy to announce that this year we will also be awarding the inaugural Chancellor’s Community Research Partner Award. Nominate partners for the Chancellor’s Community Research Partner here!
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 at email@example.com or 501-454-1467
A new workshop on the Dos and Don’ts of Community Engagement is being offered to researchers, students and staff, Oct. 18, 1 – 5 p.m., College of Public Health, G232.
The workshop was developed by the Translational Research Institute, College of Public Health and UAMS’ community partners. The workshop will include simulation and role reversal, video testimonials, and group reflection and debriefing. The objective is to increase researchers’ knowledge of the dos and don’ts of community engaged research in the research domains of entering the community; the realities and constraints of community-based organizations; and dissemination.
The workshop is supported by the Arkansas Prevention Research Center and the Arkansas Center for Health Disparities.
For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Seventeen Arkansans were recently recognized for their participation in the first UAMS Community Scientist Academy.
The UAMS Translational Research Institute piloted the academy to help citizens better understand how research is done at UAMS and to prepare them for bigger roles as volunteers. A second Community Scientist Academy is being planned for spring 2017.
The graduation ceremony Sept. 29 included remarks from UAMS research leaders Kate Stewart, M.D., M.P.H., and Mary Aitken, M.D., M.P.H., and statements of appreciation from several participants. Stewart leads the Translational Research Institute’s Community Engagement program. Aitken is a veteran community-based researcher who is well known for injury prevention work, especially ATV safety. She also co-leads the Translational Research Institute’s KL2 Mentored Research Career Development Award program to help train the next generation of translational researchers.
Willy Wade Jr., founder and executive director of Difference Makers in Hot Springs, said what he learned about research at the academy can help him better serve poor
“I’ve been appointed to a few boards that are doing some research, so these tools will come in very handy in helping us determine different ways we want to tackle some problems and issues,” Wade said.
During weekly evening classes, attendees learned about the types of research at UAMS and steps in the study process, including Institutional Review Board approval to ensure the safety and ethical treatment of research participants. Each week they heard from UAMS researchers who were invited to share their stories, and they had small-group activities, such as discussing research questions and brainstorming their own research study ideas and methods. For example, one group discussed ways to study potential solutions to what Wade described as the “disconnect” that prevents the poorest, often older citizens from receiving needed services.
Academy graduate Onie Norman of Dumas, thanked UAMS for the academy. “I’ve learned so much,” she said. “There were some things I thought I knew but found out I didn’t know. This has been a really good benefit for me, and I hope you all continue to have more of these types of programs.”
Academy graduate Larry Taylor, of Little Rock, has been a UAMS volunteer on several projects. He participated in a rare diseases study as the father of a son with cystic fibrosis. He also chairs the UAMS Medical Center Patient and Family Advisory Council and serves as an adjunct professor in the College of Health Professions.
“I just thoroughly enjoy knowing what’s going on and learning new things,” Taylor said.
Both Stewart and Aitken noted the symbolism of hosting the graduation ceremony at the College of Public Health. It was held in Bruce Commons on the first floor, which was named for the late Thomas Bruce, M.D., D.Sc., first dean of the college.
“He really made sure the college was based on the idea that community lies at the heart of public health,” Stewart said. “He’s the reason we’re here, because of his vision for incorporating community into everything that we do and always making sure that we’re listening and partnering.”
“This academy is part of his legacy,” said Aitken, who served with Bruce on the college’s planning committee before it was established in 2001.
She told the group that when she began conducting community engaged research 20 years ago, she quickly realized she had a lot to learn. Aitken had come to Arkansas from Seattle and had never seen an ATV but was embarking on a plan to prevent ATV injury and death. As a pediatrician with a noticeably different accent, she discovered that she wasn’t effective with her safety message in rural Arkansas.
“Sometimes as a researcher you have to learn that you’re not the right messenger,” she said. “I could have all the right information but I wasn’t the person to deliver it, so I hired a gentleman who was a hunter from the Delta area of the state, and he was very successful.”
In another learning experience, Aitken said she was skeptical when her staff bought ATV covers as giveaways at events where they
took their safety message. At a rodeo, she said, a man attending the event told them he had first assumed their intent was to take away people’s ATVs. Then he saw they were giving away ATV covers, so he understood that wasn’t the case.
“That was an ‘aha’ moment for me,” she said.
The idea for the Community Scientist Academy came from Sarah Facen, of Little Rock, a member of the Translational Research Institute Community Advisory Board.
“I am very happy to have seen this academy move forward,” she said. “It has been a privilege for me to serve on this board because the Translational Research Institute absolutely listens to the community.”
This month, the UAMS Translational Research Institute (TRI) introduces Profiles Plug-In, a newsletter that will be researchers’ monthly guide to all things Profiles. Each issue will cover a variety of topics, including user tricks and tips, updates and upcoming changes, successes, etc. We hope you find the newsletter useful and continue to read the Plug-In each month.
TRI’s September newsletter, The TRIbune, features a new initiative to help UAMS graduate students learn how to become entrepreneurs. Led by Nancy Rusch, Ph.D., and Nancy Gray, Ph.D., TRI co-sponsored the recent Health Sciences Entrepreneurship Boot Camp for graduate students. It was a hit! Special thanks to Phil Mayeux, Ph.D., whose T32 grant created an opportunity for supplemental funding to conduct the boot camp, and to Drs. Rusch and Gray for their successful application. You can read about it here, along with comments from several students.
In addition, Dr. Gray, director of UAMS BioVentures, offers her perspective on TRI in the TRI & Me feature, and you can read about the recent NIH grant to a large multidisciplinary team of UAMS researchers that stems from a TRI pilot award. We also list your publications that have cited TRI support.
Read The TRIbune.
Strengthening diversity and inclusion in education, research and patient care is a top priority for the Translational Research Institute (TRI), and we are very proud to have TRI faculty recognized for their work in this area. Kate Stewart, M.D., M.P.H., won the 2016 Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion Award (faculty), and Beatrice Boateng, Ph.D., was a nominee for the award.
Stewart (left in photo) leads our community engagement team at TRI, and Boateng directs our evaluation program.
From the presentation ceremony/nomination:
“Over the course of her career, Dr. Stewart has built a reputation of being a champion for diversity and inclusion. She works tirelessly on behalf of underserved individuals, in particular for members of racial, sexual and gender minority groups. Kate has such a kind heart and a gentle spirit that she is able to welcome people of traditionally underrepresented groups. But don’t be fooled; just because she’s soft-spoken, she has a fire in her soul and a passionate commitment to creating an inclusive environment where everyone has equal access to healthcare and is represented equitably in every aspect of life in our communities. She has devoted her career to social justice work and demonstrates her commitment to the spirit of diversity by not participating on boards or committees unless they are diverse and inclusive of individuals from traditionally underrepresented groups. People trust her because they know she has their best interest at heart.”
“Dr. Boateng works to improve diversity among translational researchers at UAMS. She recently led a campus-wide assessment on the climate of diversity and inclusion and how it affects the recruitment and retention of researchers. She is involved in the UAMS Initiative for Maximizing Student Diversity, and has worked to enhance mentorships at UAMS. She believes everyone has something to contribute and that there are no boundaries that cannot be overcome. She naturally brings diverse groups together, resulting in a greater good for everyone.”
Read the UAMS news story: http://bit.ly/2cCaKks
Sometimes the stars align and an experiment yields a “Eureka!” moment. That’s on par with what happened recently at UAMS’ Biomedical Research Center.
Led by Nancy Rusch, Ph.D., and Nancy Gray, Ph.D., the “experiment” was UAMS’ first Health Sciences Entrepreneurship Boot Camp for 16 graduate students. Rusch leads the UAMS Translational Research Institute’s workforce development efforts and chairs the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology in the College of Medicine. Gray is director of UAMS BioVentures and a professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology.
Even before the laudatory written evaluations came in, Rusch and Gray were excited by what they witnessed and what participants were telling them. Both were impressed with how quickly the students learned the language of entrepreneurship. That was evident on the final day of boot camp, when teams of students presented their commercialization ideas.
“From Monday to Friday there was an amazing transformation,” Rusch said. “It was like a different group of students.”
Several of the participating students said the boot camp inspired them and either applied directly to their goals or opened their minds more fully to commercializing their ideas, even if they plan to continue in academia as “intrapreneurs.”
“The presenters that were brought in were absolute rock stars,” said Erin Bush, R.N.C., M.N.N., a graduate student in the UAMS College of Nursing. “One of the things that I most want to do with my nursing Ph.D. is be an entrepreneur and translate the nursing science that’s coming out of research into something that can be commercialized. So the boot camp has incredible applications for my career goals.”
The boot camp’s success was aided by the participation of UAMS’ entrepreneurial faculty as well as other heavy hitters in Arkansas’ entrepreneurial community. The roster included the University of Arkansas’ Carol Reeves, Ph.D., whose MBA students have led the world in business plan competitions the last six years, and Paul Mlakar, MBA, a serial entrepreneur.
Other outside presenters included Jeff Stinson, MBA, director of entrepreneurship at Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub; Rebecca Norman, M.S., an innovation consultant at the Arkansas Small Business & Technology Development Center; and Lee Watson, president of The Venture Center.
“We’ve developed a wonderful spirit of collegiality with all of our presenters and there’s great cooperation between UAMS and UA, Fayetteville,” Rusch said. “Their participation really made this possible.”
A Rising Tide
The boot camp was supported by $50,000 in supplemental funding tied to a National Institute of General and Medical Sciences T32 Systems Pharmacology and Toxicology Training Program grant led by Phil Mayeux, Ph.D., who alerted Rusch about the supplemental funding opportunity. Rusch and Gray applied for the funding and developed the boot camp agenda.
There are now 58 faculty at UAMS with entrepreneurial experience. Their success is good for them as well as UAMS, which receives intellectual property revenues for the licensed technologies. UAMS’ intellectual property revenue is about $1.6 million per year. BioVentures has been involved in over 50 spinoff companies. Of those, 23 are still in operation and had an aggregate payroll of $7.2 million at the end of 2014.
Rusch said she hopes UAMS can increase these numbers through entrepreneurship training. She is leading the educational effort for the Translational Research Institute, and she credits institute Director/Associate Vice Chancellor for Clinical and Translational Research Laura James, M.D., with the idea of making it a key component of TRI’s mission and Clinical and Translational Science Award application. The goal is to offer a certificate program.
“I see the need for entrepreneurship training with my students all the time,” Rusch said. “They come into my office and say ‘I have this idea and it could really improve clinical care, but I don’t know how to proceed.’”
UAMS faculty entrepreneurs who shared their stories at the boot camp:
- Jay Gandy, Ph.D., professor and chair, Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health; Founding Partner, Center for Toxicology & Environmental Health, LLC
- Bill Gurley, Ph.D., professor, College of Pharmacy; chief science officer, Balm Innovations LLC
- Amy Hester, Ph.D., R.N., assistant professor, College of Nursing; chief scientific officer, HD Nursing, LLC
- Laura James, M.D., professor, College of Medicine; director, UAMS Translational Research Institute; associate vice chancellor for Clinical and Translational Research; chief medical officer, Acetaminophen Toxicity Diagnostics, LLC
- Jeffery Moran, Ph.D., assistant professor, College of Medicine; CEO and founding partner, Pinpoint Testing, LLC
- Michael Owens, Ph.D., professor, College of Medicine, chief scientific officer, InterveXion Therapeutics