CDC Heart Disease

The Center for Clinical and Translational Science (CCTS) was established in 2008 and is funded by a Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (National Institutes of Health grant UL1TR003096). We are one of more than 50 CTSA programs nationwide and the only CTSA in Alabama. CCTS serves a population with a heavy burden of cardiometabolic, vascular, and cancer-related diseases.

The CCTS Partner Network, which comprises 11 academic research institutions across our tri-state region (AL, MS, LA), is the foundation of our collaborative efforts. The Network launched in 2015 (see a CCTS timeline of events from 2008 to 2019). Our network-wide research environment is defined by unique collaborative opportunities and resources that provide the scope, scale, and transdisciplinary capacity necessary to achieve our vision, mission, and aims.


Our vision is to reduce the burden of disease and disparities in health outcomes that disproportionately affect the underserved minority and special (i.e., socioeconomically disadvantaged, rural) populations within our region. This vision forms a common purpose among the institutions in our CCTS Partner Network. 


Working together, we will enhance the translation of fundamental and clinical research into improvements for human health and health care delivery. By further developing a diverse, well-trained workforce in translational science, by promoting an efficient scientific capacity, by engaging our communities in partnership to identify challenges and create approaches to solutions, and by assuring effective use of available resources, the CCTS Partner Network will accelerate the pace of discovery to delivery across the translational spectrum.

Aims and Strategies

Aim 1. To further the development of a vibrant, diverse clinical and translational science research workforce through experiential training and effective mentoring with an emphasis on "translational thinking" and team science approaches.

Strategy: The CCTS Hub and Partner Network provides education and training programs for learners at all career stages in support of innovative, multidisciplinary, engaged team research. We create and apply novel learning approaches from gamification to team-focused design thinking in I-CorpsTM to convey new skills, perspectives, and understanding of the translation process.

Aim 2. To enhance and support an integrated informatics capacity enabling full utilization of high-dimensional data together with rich, deep clinical data, typically in data warehouses, and to catalyze collaborative coordinated data analytics across the Partner Network and the CTSA consortium. 

Strategy: The CCTS Hub and Partner Network enhances the background and skills in informatics and extends the digitally integrated ecosystem, bringing together bioinformatics and clinical informatics to enable discovery research from the bench to the learning healthcare system and from the Hub across the Partner Network to the CTSA national consortium.

Aim 3. To engage our communities in trusting, productive relationships and broadly engaged team collaborations that advance translational knowledge to impactful implementation.

Strategy: The CCTS Hub and Partner Network works closely with local constituencies to address health issues of particular significance to our region, including the special needs of our vulnerable and unique populations. The CCTS ensures best practices in pursuit of community engaged studies to enhance participation, safety, confidentiality, and effectiveness.

Aim 4. To accelerate the pace and impact of translational discovery and ensure effective translation through rigorously designed and effectively implemented clinical studies and trials.

Strategy: The CCTS Hub and Network supports ethical, scientifically rigorous clinical trials and pilot research by providing a range of specialized services, resources, and consultations. The CCTS fosters the application of best practices, including those established by the CTSA Consortium and promotes the collaborative tools and processes that enable the rapid and efficient execution of multi-site clinical trials, taking advantage of the electronic health record to inform feasibility and access to study populations.

Aim 5. To assure continuous improvement in efficiency, quality, and sustainability through partnership with institutional administrative offices and through rigorous evaluation of performance.

Strategy: The CCTS Hub and Partner Network uses quantitative and qualitative assessment and feedback to assure that training and research programs meet the needs of its scientific constituencies and the goals of the CCTS, consistent with consortium-wide Common Metrics and Results Based Accountability evaluation activities. This strategy includes review of study design and study feasibility, transparent fee schedules, and assistance with participant recruitment.