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500 Stars

We Are 500 Stars Initiative

We create experiences that transform lives through training and educational opportunities in clinical and translational sciences.


Our Vision is to enrich the southeast Wisconsin translational research workforce through promoting inclusion and diversity.


Our Mission is to provide training and educational opportunities to students of diversity in middle school, high school, and college undergraduate and graduate programs who are looking for a career in clinical and translational science.


Our Goal is to enroll 500 students over ten years into the CTSI 500 Stars.

Who Are We:

The CTSI 500 Stars Initiative is a ten-year, comprehensive, multi-institutional, and community-focused, education and workforce diversity plan, with the overarching objective of replenishing, while increasing diversity in the translational science workforce. Student family members are essential to career achievement and success; as such, the program also engages family members throughout the entire student experience.

We offer direct, hands-on, professional experiences in clinical and translational science settings at CTSI partner and collaborator sites, as well as in the community. The Initiative works with well- established regional partners to move the translational workforce along existing regional diversity pipelines. Our Initiative takes both direct and supportive roles in the educational and workforce diversity pipeline.

CTSI 500 Stars Initiative Programs

Now accepting applications for the Summer 2024 Program!



Continuously ENGAGE students and family members throughout the entire student experience.


Provide programs and activities that will equip and EDUCATE students, with the support of family members, for future careers in the Translational Science Workforce.


ENRICH the Southeast Wisconsin translational science workforce through promoting inclusion and diversity.


EMPOWER our 500 Stars students with knowledge, academic mentorship and continuous support.


ELEVATE and uplift our 500 Stars students towards careers in translational science settings.


ENABLE students and family members to increase the quality and efficiency of translational research that will lead to better health outcomes in the communities we live and serve.

Our Team

Dr. Ward Headshot

Doriel Ward PhD, MPH
Executive Director CTSI Administration


Reza Shaker, MD
Sr. Associate Dean MCW and Director


Dessie Levy, PhD, RN, APNP
Assistant Professor, Assistant Director Community Engagement Initiatives

Chamia Gary Headshot

Chamia Gary, MS
Associate Director

Lawrence Battle

Lawrence J. Battle
Community Engagement Director


Exie Walker, MS
Community Program Coordinator II

Our aim for the CTSI 500 Stars Initiative is to provide real-life, practical experiences, in translational science settings as a part of our efforts to train and cultivate the translational science workforce, while also engaging patients, families and community members in every aspect of the translational research process.

2017 500 Stars

2018 500 Stars

2019 500 Stars

Partner institutions include:

  • Medical College of Wisconsin
  • Versiti – Blood Research Institute
  • Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin
  • Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center
  • Milwaukee School of Engineering
  • Froedtert and Medical College of Wisconsin
  • Marquette University
  • The University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee

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