By Jordan Prochnow
On April 3, UIHC announced a $21 million grant renewal for a Clinical and Translational Science Award from the National Institutes of Health. This marks the third renewal of the grant, which was given to UIHC in 2007, and it promises funding through 2023.
“One of the key themes that ran throughout our renewal and guide some of our major goals for the next five years is reaching ‘beyond our borders,’ ” said Patrick Barlow, the associate director of program evaluation for UI Institute for Clinical & Translational Science. “Broadly speaking, this means expanding our research outside of the university and into communities across Iowa.”
Researchers from the Carver College of Medicine, the Colleges of Public Health, Nursing, and Liberal Arts & Sciences, and the Tippie College of Business are collaborating to use the grant to expand research and coverage throughout the state. Their goal is to reach individuals and community members who can benefit from health-care opportunities, who may not otherwise have access.
“We have made it a priority in this version of the grant to try to enroll individuals from areas around the state using more novel methods of participation,” Associate Dean of the medical school Patricia Winokur said. “We are exploring electronic consenting that can be done using a phone or a tablet, and this could allow anyone to participate from around the state. This type of information may provide a more realistic measure of how an individual is coping in a more natural setting.”
Winokur said engaging community members in research projects to explore new ways of delivering care is important, and the UIHC is developing tools to allow individuals to participate in that research.
“The grant helps us partner with community organizations, that way research can be done in the communities in which the patients reside, helps support technologies to gather data on patients in their real environments, and helps develop networks of researchers and clinics throughout the state,” said Marlan Hansen, the senior associate director of the clinical/translational institute. “We are blessed with great leadership, and it’s great to see them come together and work collaboratively to accomplish their goals.”
The grant renewal will aim to provide a variety of important resources to individuals throughout Iowa, particularly those in rural communities. This renewal will allow for researchers to continue building upon existing research and will serve as a bridge for future endeavors.
“The University of Iowa is now joined with 61 other institutions around the country allowing us to work together to solve questions in a bigger context. Iowa provides a critical insight into rural America, allowing us to explore differences that may occur in rural environments and address problems of healthcare delivery in a rural state,” Winokur said. “Many additional research grants will benefit from this one award, so it serves as a multiplier and should escalate our competitiveness for additional funding.”