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CTSI Receives Five-Year CTSA Grant Renewal

CTSI Receives Five-Year CTSA Grant Renewal

We are extremely pleased to share with you that The Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) has been awarded a five-year, $24.4 million Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) from the National Institutes of Health. This competitive grant renewal will fund the work of the Clinical and Translational Science Institute of Southeast Wisconsin (CTSI), a consortium of eight regional organizations. The mission is to develop an integrated, shared home for clinical and translational research and research training, hallmarked by a borderless, collaborative, synergistic and investigator/community/patient-friendly, research environment that is functionally integrated into regional and national CTSA networks.

This achievement marks the third five-year CTSA awarded to MCW, demonstrating our strength as an innovative and cutting-edge research institution, collaborative partner and national thought leader.

The CTSI, which was founded in 2010 with a $20 million five-year award – followed by a five-year, $22.5 million award in 2015 – comprises Children’s Wisconsin, Clement Zablocki VA Medical Center, Froedtert Hospital, Marquette University, MCW, Milwaukee School of Engineering, the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee and Versiti Blood Center of Wisconsin. The composition of the CTSI is unique nationally because of the engagement of three degree-granting academic institutions not affiliated with MCW, three large hospital/healthcare systems and a large research-intensive blood center. This allows for research resources and opportunities for collaboration for MCW students and faculty as well as for the faculty and students of our seven partnering institutions.

The CTSI is advancing health in Wisconsin through research and discovery by bringing together leaders across the translational research spectrum to share resources, research, technology and expertise. CTSI has accelerated the translation of research discoveries into patient care and has created a solid foundation that brings new therapies/interventions to patients, improves health outcomes and builds training programs and community engagement.

Using innovative mechanisms, CTSI members work to translate research discoveries more quickly into preventive, diagnostic and therapeutic interventions for patients. During the past five years, CTSI service centers have supported almost 1,300 research studies/projects.


Among the achievements of CTSI’s past five years are:

  • CTSI Biomedical Informatics (BMI)
    BMI has established requisite capacities to provide our clinical and translational research community with a number of tools and related services. During the past five years, CTSI BMI has supported over 1,025 research studies/projects.
  • Expansion of the MCW/CTSI Clinical Trials Office (CTO)
    The CTSI/MCW Clinical Trials Office was expanded to include all non-cancer studies, providing investigators with several new resources and holistic support. CTSI has systematized the approach to clinical trials by incorporating Informatics; Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Research Design (BERD); translational research workforce training and education, study management tools/resources and regulatory compliance under one roof. During the past five years, MCW/CTSI CTO has supported about 185 research studies/projects.
  • Translational Research Units (TRU)
    Since 2015, 151 NIH-funded studies have been supported through TRUs, CTO and BMI services. CTSI Pediatric TRU has averaged 2,030 research visits annually over the last four years and has executed 100 protocols; research topics ranged from observational pathophysiologic studies to phase three trials. The Geriatric/Veteran TRU at the Zablocki VA has been the major driver of the Million Veterans project and has supported clinical/translational studies involving veterans and the elderly averaging almost 1,900 visits per year. During the past five years, CTSI Adult TRU has supported nearly 220 research studies/projects.
  • Community Engagement (CE)
    CTSI expanded the reach of its Discovery Radio and podcast programs to include national/international reach. CTSI’s novel 500 Stars Initiative, a student/family engagement program, targeting the under-represented minority (URM) workforce, reached 236 students in two years and established a year-round “Students Modeling a Research Topic” (SMART Teams) Program with 104 students. The CTSI CE Science Café Program includes a strong Community Science Cafés Program, with 34 events conducted in three years and attended by more than 1,000 community members, as well as a new and innovative “Faith-based Science Café Program.” Also, CTSI’s innovative Child Advancement Network (CAN) held 22 CAN Science Cafés with almost 900 participants in one year’s time.
  • Multi-disciplinary Team-based Integrated Clinical and Research Ensembles
    CTSI successfully piloted a novel approach to team science (working in parallel with our traditional academic approach) which actively affords the formation of multidisciplinary “Ensembles” to study/address patient unmet needs/problems that can be addressed by skilled multidisciplinary teams.
  • Translational Workforce Development
    Career development and education and training programs include our CTSA KL2, TL1 (pre- and post-docs), Clinical Scholars Program (CRS), two PhD and two master’s degree programs. At any given time, about 100 trainees are enrolled in our multi-pronged training and career development programs. For the investigators, a total of 158 trainees have completed our career development and educational programs in the past five years, and about 105 are currently enrolled in these programs. Graduates have collectively published 423 manuscripts, received 56 awards and obtained nearly $15 million in grant funding.

    • START (TL1) Mentored Research Training Program
      From 2016-2019, 30 START Scholars from regional MD/PhD and PhD programs, 14 of whom are URM, have participated in multiple mentored research training programs across CTSI.
    • Clinical Research Scholars Program
      Scholars are accepted into the program every two years. Between 2013-2019, 62 students enrolled in the Clinical Research Scholars Program and 48 graduated. Scholars include nursing, medicine and pharmacy students from MCW, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Marquette University.
    • CTSI-Mentored Career Development (KL2)
      Over the past five years, CTSI has awarded a total of 10 new KL2 scholars. Two of these new awards were funded by the NIH and seven were funded through the Advancing a Healthier Wisconsin Endowment. Six scholars completed the two-year KL2 Mentored Career Development Program. All participants continue to be engaged in clinical and translational research and each has obtained at least one grant from the NIH.
  • CTSI Advancing Medical Product Development (AMPD) Module
    CTSI’s AMPD Module is a multi-institutional collaboration that aggregates and makes readily accessible essential medical product development resources within partnering institutions and the community. The initiative is designed to overcome inefficiencies in developing innovative academic discoveries into healthcare products by more effectively linking biomedical science researchers with commercialization and development experts and potential investors.
  • All of Us Research Grant
    CTSI of Southeast Wisconsin and ICTIR (UW-Madison’s CTSA collaboration) resulted in a $5.4 million NIH “All of Us” research grant that benefits communities across the state of Wisconsin and the country to aid in engagement and recruitment of research participants for this important national agenda.

Only about one third of all US medical schools have received a CTSA award since the program’s inception in 2003. In the federal government’s fiscal year 2019, there were 60 CTSA awards nationwide at approximately 50 academic medical centers. This extremely competitive award reflects MCW’s role as a national leader in building academic and research partnerships to address the community’s greatest health needs. The collaborations and partnerships fostered through the CTSI already have paid off in innovation and translation of new technologies and advancements.

We are deeply grateful to our faculty, staff, students and many partners across region for their invaluable contributions to the CTSI as we continue to build healthier communities.

NIH Funding Acknowledgment: Important Reminder – Please acknowledge the NIH when publishing papers, patents, projects, and presentations resulting from the use of CTSI resources by including the NIH Funding Acknowledgement.


Children's Hospital of WisconsinMarquette UniversityMSOEUWMVersitiVA Medical Center