The National Advisory Dental and Craniofacial Research Council (NADCRC), the advisory body to the National Institute on Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), held an abbreviated session of its first quarter congressionally-mandated advisory council meeting to accommodate the East coast blizzard. The shortened session included a discussion of proposed research concept clearances to allow the Institute’s program staff to move forward to develop funding opportunity announcements (FOAs) around creation of a mentored translation program and an implementation science and oral health program.
The NADCRC approved the first concept clearance presented by Lynn King, NIDCR. The objective of the proposed concept is to leverage “training resources and expertise among a national network of medical research institutions (‘hubs’)” supported by the NIH’s National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) Program “to increase NIDCR translational research workforce and to advance dental, oral, and craniofacial translational research.” King explained that the CTSAs use the KL2 Mentored Clinical Research Scholar Program, which offers formal research training experience to scholars who already have a research or health-professional doctoral degree. Scholars in the program can receive up to five years of support. The program also offers “a research curriculum including formal coursework, research experience, and training in team science that is aligned with core competencies in translational research.” Scholars are selected by the CTSA-funded institutions. Currently, there are more than 50 CTSA sites in 31 states and DC. The proposed program would fill a gap for NIDCR in its efforts to provide a pathway for mentored training in translational research and responds to Institute of Medicine/National Academy of Medicine report on the CTSA Report at NIH (see Update, August 11, 2014).
The NADCRC also approved the second concept presented by David Clark, NIDCR, to create an Implementation Science and Oral Health program. Clark explained that the goal of the program is to “reduce the time between the development of the evidence base of interventions to widespread use in dental care and oral health settings.” Further explaining that implementation science focuses on “identifying, understanding, and overcoming barriers to the adoption, adaptation, integration, scale-up and sustainability of evidence-based interventions, tools, policies, and guidelines,” Clark emphasized the value in “understanding when/how to ‘de-implement’ or reduce the use of strategies and procedures that are not evidence-based, have been prematurely widely adopted, or are potentially harmful or wasteful.” NIDCR is a participant of the NIH-wide Dissemination and Implementation Research in Health FOAs and has funded four applications over the past six years, Clark reported. He concluded that the program is an opportunity for NIDCR to make its mark and help researchers in the community as well as bring in new people.