It was a
festive scene at the Health Sciences Center in Morgantown. Chancellor of Health
Sciences, Dr. Christopher Colenda, said the event was as significant to him as
the day he asked his wife to marry him.
celebrate a turning point in the ability of this university’s research mission
to have an impact on the health and well-being of people across the state of
West Virginia," Chancellor Colenda says. "And to transform lives and
eliminate health disparities.”
Ray Tomblin attended the event. The Governor’s Office of Health Enhancement and
Lifestyle Planning is among the collaborating partners working with WVU.
“As I was
preparing for this event I was reading through the materials given to me and I
came across the vision for WVU. That is to attain national research prominence
that enhances the well-being of the people of West Virginia by 2020. I must say
that with this prestigious grant, I believe that you are well on your way to
making that vision a reality and I say congratulations to you and the
The grant is
awarded specifically to the West Virginia Clinical and Translational Science
Institute. The grant required a 472-page application to the NIH. With this award,
WVU will join an elite group of institutions committed to improve human
health by streamlining science, transforming training environments and
improving the conduct, quality and dissemination of clinical and
translational research is defined as research intended to move quickly from
laboratory to patient. Chancellor Colenda says the grant will address the
short-term aims of the institute which are to establish a competitive
infrastructure and expand capacity to conduct clinical and translational
research in order to meet their long term goal of eliminating health and
healthcare disparities among Appalachians.
the grant propels WVU to a higher level as a research institution.
organization of the grant was based on the fundamental health disparities in
the state. So if you look at obesity, cancer, and central nervous system
diseases like strokes—those are all kind of consequences of what those of us in
the field call metabolic syndromes. We’re looking at ways to improve access for
clinical care for some of these programs but also prevention and understanding
the basic molecular and biomedical consequences and contributory factors that
lead to metabolic syndromes in our adults.”
historically, it’s been very difficult for academic health centers to engage in
community research projects.
of this grant is actually devoted towards how we successfully engage
communities and folks within the communities to be partners in research to be
able to better understand the various diseases that they live with, they suffer
with, and to make that partnership work.”
because of the award, wheels are already in motion to hire 24
physician-scientists and 22 staff members. He is excited about that, and says
in the School of Dentistry, they’ve already recruited a dental scientist.
interesting thing is that this is multidisciplinary. If you look at a metabolic
syndrome as kind of a broad expression of a disease, oral health is really
quite important. The beginning of the gastrointestinal tract begins in the
mouth, and being able to recruit a dental scientist we can look at some very
interesting things about chronic inflammation and how that might impact
metabolic syndromes. It’s a real key and part of that recruitment was the fact
that we have this CTSA to be able to help her come here.”
In addition to
the NIH grant, other leading educational, health sciences and healthcare
entities from across the state have committed to providing another
33-million-dollars to make the total investment an unprecedented
$53 million over the next five years.