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New Centers to Advance Implementation and Prevention Sciences

July 02, 2018

Two new centers at the School of Medicine and the School of Public Health will promote the adoption of research findings into clinical practice and develop and assess sustainable, cost-effective interventions to improve public health domestically and around the world.

The School of Medicine’s Center for Implementation Science (YCIS), led by Steven L. Bernstein, MD, professor of emergency medicine and public health (health policy) and the School of Public Health’s Center for Methods of Implementation and Prevention Science (CMIPS), led by Donna Spiegelman, ScD, the Susan Dwight Bliss Professor of Biostatistics with a secondary appointment in the Department of Statistics and Data Science, will work synergistically to facilitate the translation of research into practice.

YCIS will work across diverse disciplines and departments at the medical school, as well as the School of Public Health and the School of Nursing. “We hope to create an intellectual home for investigators at Yale who are interested in implementation science so that we can shorten the gap between publication and practice,” said Bernstein, noting that this can span up to 17 years. “YCIS will be a cross-disciplinary collaborative network where we can incubate ideas and pursue funding opportunities.”

YCIS is affiliated with the Yale Center for Clinical Investigation (YCCI), where Bernstein will be director of implementation science. YCCI was created to support and facilitate clinical and translational research and training across the entire medical campus and is the operational home of Yale’s Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) from the National Institutes of Health. Yale was one of the original 12 institutions to receive a CTSA in 2006, which was renewed in 2015 for another five years.

In 2017, Bernstein was awarded a K12 grant from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health to fund a five-year program to train young scholars in implementation science related to diseases of the heart, lungs, and blood, as well as sleep disorders. When he was applying for the grant, he found that a small number of investigators were doing implementation science, but many more were interested. Forty faculty members signed on as co-mentors for the scholars, and several New Haven non-profit organizations— including Junta for Progressive Action, Project Access, DataHaven, Columbus House, and the New Haven Health Department—partnered with the program, which will serve as the training core for YCIS. The curriculum developed for the Yale Implementation Science Scholars includes coursework from the National Clinician Scholars Program, the Investigative Medicine Program, and the Schools of Public Health and Management. Courses will also be available to other members of the health science communities.

The development of implementation science provides a rigorous academic basis to take the final step that truly brings the fruits of biomedical basic science into the community.

Brian R. Smith, MD

At the Yale School of Public Health, Spiegelman and her CMIPS colleagues will lead research on quantitative and qualitative methods for implementation and prevention science in global public health and provide quantitative and qualitative support for the design and planning of global health projects in such areas as HIV/AIDS, cancer; diabetes; cardiovascular disease prevention; mental, environmental, and reproductive health promotion; and substance abuse. The new center will also serve as a major interface between biostatisticians, epidemiologists, social scientists, and health economists across several schools in the university.

“We are fortunate to have Dr. Spiegelman joining the Yale School of Public Health to lead this important center that will be integral in both the development of new methods for research, as well as serving as a platform for original projects addressing some of the world’s most urgent public health issues,” said Sten Vermund, MD, PhD, dean of the School of Public Health. Spiegelman brings two investigator-initiated grants (NIAID and NIEHS) and her NIH Director’s Pioneer Award with her from the Harvard School of Public Health. Spiegelman is the first biostatistician to ever receive the prestigious NIH Director’s Pioneer Award, a $5 million award given to scientists who propose pioneering approaches to major challenges in biomedical and behavioral research.

CMIPS will be a natural complement to and extension of YCIS, serving as an international leader in methods innovation for public health, providing biostatistical and methodological expertise on new prevention science projects at Yale and around the world, and contributing to the educational component through curricular offerings and mentorship.

“We have known for a long time that the results of evidence-based clinical trials do not always translate with the same efficacy when they are brought into actual ‘real life’. The development of implementation science provides a rigorous academic basis to take the final step that truly brings the fruits of biomedical basic science into the community,” noted Brian R. Smith, MD, deputy dean for scientific affairs (clinical departments) at the School of Medicine. “The development of these two highly synergistic centers with cutting-edge leadership will help Yale complete the pathway to bringing our basic, translational, and clinical science efforts into effective clinical practice, both for New Haven and across the world.”

Submitted by Jill Max on June 28, 2018