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Washington Highlights

NCATS Advisory Council and CAN Review Board Meet

January 17, 2014—The National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Advisory Council and the Cures Acceleration Network (CAN) Review Board Jan. 16 held a joint meeting.  The meeting included reports from NCATS Director Chris Austin, M.D., and CAN Board Chair Freda Lewis-Hall, M.D., Pfizer Chief Medical Officer.

Dr. Austin presented on current NCATS portfolio activities and discussed opportunities for new initiatives in translational science. He also introduced Pamela M. McInnes, D.D.S., as the new NCATS Deputy Director.

The meeting included a retrospective presentation on 30 years of NIH research on rare diseases from NCATS Office of Rare Diseases Research Director Stephen Groft, Pharm.D. It also included an overview of “The Point Person Project,” a study-researcher matching program, presented by Mayo Clinic Professor of Pediatrics W. Charles Huskins, M.D., M.Sc. The project is an initiative of the Child Health Oversight Committee of the Clinical and Translational Science Awards program. 

Additionally, the council considered a report from its patient engagement subcommittee. It considered developing disease-agnostic, generalizable, scalable tools, and technologies for patient engagement, such as platforms for patient registries, educational materials, and training modules for patients and their families, among other issues. The subcommittee made suggestions about setting tangible deliverables and creating evaluation metrics for existing patient engagement strategies.

The appropriations bill approved by Congress Jan. 15 provides $9.835 million to the CAN Board, the same level as in prior years [see related story].

When available, a video of the meeting will be posted on the NIH Web site. The next joint NCATS Advisory Council and CAN Review Board meeting will be held on May 16.


Irena Tartakovsky, M.D.
Director, Constituent Engagement
Telephone: 202-862-6134

Stephen Heinig
Director, Science Policy
Telephone: 202-828-0488


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Washington Highlights, a weekly electronic newsletter, features brief updates on the latest legislative and regulatory activities affecting medical schools and teaching hospitals.

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Jason Kleinman
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Telephone: 202-903-0806