GHUCCTS Inaugurates New Community Advisory Board
Georgetown-Howard Universities Center for Clinical and Translational Science (GHUCCTS) has announced its first Community Advisory Board. The 13 board members encompass a diverse group of scientists, researchers, health care providers and community activists who will ensure that the Center’s research has a meaningful impact on health care and preventive practices in the District of Columbia and beyond.
GHUCCTS was created to transform health care and preventive practices in communities through medical discoveries made in laboratories and clinical settings. It is funded by a $38.2 million Clinical and Translational Science Award from the National Institutes of Health.
One of the key goals of the Center is to apply the results of medical discoveries made in laboratories and clinics to the community. By improving communication with the Washington metropolitan area, the board will translate medical knowledge into community-based action, direct the center towards relevant research areas, and facilitate academic-community partnerships for improving health.
Communication strategies include creating partnerships with health researchers, community organizations and the public through the launch of a new website and social networking tools. By providing researchers with access to local data, the website will play a critical role in identifying priority health issues in the D.C. region.
“It is our expectation that the Center will stimulate significant scientific discoveries that will provide health benefits to the diverse communities of the Washington metropolitan area and the nation,” says Thomas Mellman, M.D., co-director of GHUCCTS and professor of psychiatry and associate dean for clinical and translational research at Howard University.
The appropriate use of technology is a key factor. Having a presence on the Internet allows the GHUCCTS to reach thousands in the local area and throughout the world.
Howard University participated in a study that resulted in a key breakthrough in the treatment of sickle cell anemia, demonstrating the Center’s potential to improve local and national health care through its clinical research. Researchers conducting clinical trials at 13 medical institutions across the nation discovered a treatment that dramatically reduces pain, inflammation, and hospitalization time in young children suffering from sickle cell anemia. An article published in The Lancet said that the findings suggest that the discovery should now be the standard treatment for all children with sickle cell disease.
Steve Galen, president and CEO of Primary Care Coalition of Montgomery County, sees academic and community health partnerships playing a leading role in improving the health of local residents suffering from chronic disease.
“The Primary Care Coalition is interested in identifying and testing evidence-based strategies to improve the health and well being of the county’s most vulnerable residents,” says Galen, a member of the newly appointed Board.
Joseph Verbalis, M.D., co-director of the Center and professor of medicine at Georgetown, says GHUCCTS scientists and researchers are eager to see the impacts of the Community Advisory Board on local and national health care.
By Rita Pearson