NIH to give UW $62 million for ‘translational’ health

For many years, patients have read about research breakthroughs in medicine, yet it can take decades before that research is applied in medical practice. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) wants to speed up the “translation” from research to the real world.

On Sept. 18, the NIH announced that the UW Institute of Translational Health Sciences is among 13 academic medical organizations nationwide to receive funding. The national consortium will enable researchers to provide new treatments more efficiently and quickly to patients. The UW institute will receive approximately $62 million over five years.

The NIH will spend approximately $577 million over five years for its national consortium. When fully implemented in 2012, 60 institutions will be linked together to reform clinical and translational health science.

The UW institute has partners at 12 sites, including Children’s Hospital and Regional Medical Center, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, Group Health Cooperative Center for Health Studies, Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason and the Northwest Association for Biomedical Research.

Some of the institute initiatives include:

  • a community engagement plan which considers diversity across race, ethnicity, culture, rural and urban locations, geography, health status and health service delivery.
  • an ethics program linking adult and pediatric medical centers.
  • advanced capability for developing new therapies and clinical testing.

Medical School Associate Dean Mary L. “Nora” Disis is the principal investigator for the institute. With the national and local networks, she says, the group will be able “to provide new treatments more quickly and efficiently to patients.”