IOM Reports on Clinical and Translational Science Awards Program

Today, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) released a report — requested by NIH at the urging of Congress — on the Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) program. The IOM found that the CTSAs are making considerable contributions to the advancement of clinical and translational research, helping to bridge the so-called “valley of death,” and made seven recommendations to build on success, including the following:

  1. Strengthen NCATS leadership/oversight of the CTSA Program
  2. Reconfigure and streamline the CTSA Consortium
  3. Build on the strengths of individual CTSAs across the spectrum of clinical and translational research
  4. Formalize and standardize evaluation processes for individual CTSAs and the CTSA Program
  5. Advance innovation in education and training programs
  6. Ensure community engagement in all phases of research
  7. Strengthen clinical and translational research relevant to child health

Dr. Christopher Austin, Director of the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, which administers the CTSAs, issued a statement that fully endorsed the recommendations and set a path for implementation.

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IOM Report on Access to Oral Health Care Recommends Increased Research

In an event at the National Press Club, earlier today, the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) Committee on Oral Health Access to Services released its final report.  The study, sponsored by the Health Resources and Services Administration and the California HealthCare Foundation, finds that millions of Americans fail to receive adequate dental care because of “persistent and systemic” barriers to access.  The report makes six primary recommendations to increase access, notably calling for new measures of quality and efficiency as well as increased research leading to new methods of delivery and care. According to the report:

“The committee identified a deficiency in the collection, analysis, and use of data related to oral health. For example, the paucity of oral health quality measures limits the findings that can be drawn regarding the relationship between specific services and procedures and longer-term oral health outcomes. Congress, federal agencies, including HHS, and private foundations should support oral health research and evaluation of: new methods and technologies for the delivery of oral health care to vulnerable and underserved populations; measures of access, quality, and outcomes; and payment and regulatory systems.”

In its conclusion, the Committee calls on leaders at all levels of government to work in concert with the oral health community to implement report recommendations. At numerous points during the question and answer period, panelists were asked to address the likelihood of implementing its recommendations in a climate that is hostile to increased spending and new initiatives. Panelists stated a belief that existing federal agency funds within the public health portfolio could be realigned to support many of the suggestions offered by the Committee. However, they acknowledged that the current fiscal and political climate in Washington, DC pose yet another challenge to access.