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U of M’s CTSI shines the spotlight on translational researchers, announces Mentor of the Year award

The University of Minnesota is known for its brilliant researchers who make groundbreaking research discoveries. Earlier this week, the Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) celebrated a specific, remarkable subset of researchers – those committed to bringing their discoveries into practice.

Nearly 70 researchers showcased how they’re moving their discoveries along the translational path and into real-world practice. Researchers ranged from an assistant professor of medicine who is formulating a potential therapy for the treatment of head and neck cancer to a Ph.D. student creating mobile-based interventions for obesity control and prevention.

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Poising clinical research coordinators for research success

Clinical research coordinators (CRCs) are an important part of research teams, but some find themselves in the profession without adequate training. Even if they have a scientific background, they may not understand the necessary regulations, policies and intricacies of conducting research on human subjects.

A group of CRCs and research managers at the University of Minnesota identified a need for training, and worked with the Clinical and Translational Science Institute – Office of Interprofessional Workforce Development to create a comprehensive orientation program for new CRCs.   This week, after two years of hard work, the group unveiled the Clinical Research Coordinator Orientation program to their peers.

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CTSI, Center for Health Equity kick off two mentor programs

On a sun-splashed summer evening on the University of Minnesota campus the Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) and the Center for Health Equity recently kicked off two innovative mentorship programs: the Undergraduate Research Program (URP) and the Advanced Research Program (ARP).

The event provided a networking opportunity for the scholars and mentors to meet each other and to learn about the work of the other participating scholars.

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Undergrads gain valuable experience through research mentor program

For most college undergrads, jobs in a cafeteria or coffee shop are the norm. But for a select group of students, there is an opportunity to work on real medical research projects thanks to the Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) and the Center for Health Equity (CHE) Undergraduate Research Program (URP).

John Tarnowski, a senior majoring in biochemistry in the College of Biological Sciences, is currently participating in URP and has seen the benefits of such a program.

“This program has allowed me to gain exposure to research programs here at the University of Minnesota and see how the research process really works,” said Tarnowski. “I’ve been able to get involved and understand how all the components fit together. I’ve learned that the research process really is a team effort.”

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CTSI’s new mentor program helps develop effective mentoring relationships

Breaking into any field can be difficult. Whether you’re a student or professional, mentors can play a pivotal role in an individual’s career development. To address the growing need for mentors, the University of Minnesota Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) has developed a free, online, professional development course designed to prepare faculty in higher education to be effective research mentors for junior faculty, post-doctoral fellows, and graduate students.

The course, “Optimizing the Practice of Mentoring,” is designed to give research mentors the skills and tools necessary to form effective mentoring relationships.

“In today’s extremely competitive global environment, mentoring is more critical than ever before,” said Jas Ahluwalia, M.D., M.P.H., director of CTSI research training, education and career development. “The most effective mentors are wonderful advocates and help create opportunities to connect with others.”

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U of M’s new ResearchMatch effort lets patients define their interest in, connect with clinical trials

The University of Minnesota Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) is partnering with ResearchMatch, a free and secure national research registry, to connect University of Minnesota researchers with volunteers who have expressed interesting in participating in research studies.

ResearchMatch is a nationwide, disease-neutral effort that puts potential research participants more in control around the types of clinical trials they would like to know more about, potentially “matching” them to related clinical trials.

“Registering with ResearchMatch is an easy way for individuals to make a difference through research that is happening here at the University of Minnesota and other academic institutions across the country,” said Bruce Blazar, M.D., a blood and marrow transplant expert and director of the University’s CTSI.

Research is critical for medical and scientific advancement, but clinical trials need certain numbers of volunteers in order to find an answer to the problem they’re trying to solve. Unfortunately, many of these studies end before an answer is found simply due to low participant enrollment.

ResearchMatch can help “match” volunteers with any type of research study. With more than 1,200 researchers and 285 active studies, ResearchMatch is looking to grow its database of more than 25,000 volunteers. Many studies are looking for healthy people of all ages, while some are looking for people with specific health conditions.

Signing up to participate in ResearchMatch is convenient, free and secure. Learn more about participating in research studies and register for ResearchMatch at Potential volunteers can also stop by the University of Minnesota health booth during the Minnesota State Fair August 28, 29 and 31, 2012.

You can read the full news release here.

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