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Keywords:

  • evaluation;
  • translational research;
  • CTSA

Abstract

The National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), a part of the National Institutes of Health, currently funds the Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSAs), a national consortium of 61 medical research institutions in 30 states and the District of Columbia. The program seeks to transform the way biomedical research is conducted, speed the translation of laboratory discoveries into treatments for patients, engage communities in clinical research efforts, and train a new generation of clinical and translational researchers. An endeavor as ambitious and complex as the CTSA program requires high-quality evaluations in order to show that the program is well implemented, efficiently managed, and demonstrably effective. In this paper, the Evaluation Key Function Committee of the CTSA Consortium presents an overall framework for evaluating the CTSA program and offers policies to guide the evaluation work. The guidelines set forth are designed to serve as a tool for education within the CTSA community by illuminating key issues and practices that should be considered during evaluation planning, implementation, and utilization. Additionally, these guidelines can provide a basis for ongoing discussions about how the principles articulated in this paper can most effectively be translated into operational reality.