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Mike's Blog June 2021

Willie Sutton was right, “that’s where the money is”!


The ‘Un-Meeting’ format which begins with a topic and little in the way of an agenda offers a unique opportunity to explore areas where multiple types of stakeholders with multiple perspectives can interact to focus attention on an issue for which there is no clear ownership or leadership. In this manner, areas that struggle to define themselves begin to come into focus. Recently, the CTSA Consortium held an ‘Un-Meeting, Exploring the Inclusion of Community Hospitals in Clinical Research. 

Community hospitals, especially in suburban and rural areas, provide care to most Americans. Diversity in clinical research, both in terms of patient populations as well as the spectrum of medical conditions, can be enhanced with a diversity of health care settings. By expanding the network of potential hospitals, the likelihood of inclusion of appropriate participants increases. This has proven especially critical during the COVID-19 pandemic where answering critical medical questions as quickly as possible could not only save individual lives, but also prevent overburdening health care resources. So as Sutton’s Law would suggest, engaging community hospitals is wise because that’s where the patients are! To Access Full Blog - Click Here.

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CEAL Awarded $29 Million in Additional Grants

The NIH Community Engagement Alliance (NIH CEAL) Against COVID-19 Disparities has strategically expanded to include a total of 21 state teams. Community engagement is one of the strategic goals of the CTSA Program, and several CTSA hubs contribute to this important work focused on urgent community-engaged research and outreach among communities hardest hit by the pandemic. View the NIH CEAL webpage for more information about CEAL teams, resources to share, to request a speaker, and CEAL in the news.


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NCATS Advisory Council (June 10-11, 2021)

Several CTSA concepts will be presented:


Approaching Deadline: Limited Competition: Small Grant Program for the NCATS Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) Program (R03 Clinical Trial Optional) (PAR-21-121).

Next due date: June 17, 2021. More information on PAR-21-121.

Approaching Deadline: FOA and Accompanying NOSI: CTSA Consortium-Wide Centers: Resources for Rapid Demonstration and Dissemination (C3-R2D2) – Health Informatics (PAR-21-203 and NOT-TR-21-025).

Only applications responding to a NOSI will be allowed to apply to this FOA. Due date for NOT-TR-21-025: June 21, 2021. More information on PAR-21-203 and NOT-TR-21-025

REMINDER: Funding Opportunity Announcements for RADx-UP Phase II

  • RFA-OD-21-008 Emergency Awards: Community-engaged COVID-19 Testing Interventions among Underserved and Vulnerable Populations- RADx-UP Phase II (U01, Clinical Trial Optional). Due Date: July 7, 2021
  • RFA-OD-21-009 – Emergency Award: RADx-UP - Social, Ethical, and Behavioral Implications (SEBI) Research on Disparities in COVID-19 Testing among Underserved and Vulnerable Populations (U01 Clinical Trials Optional). Due Date: July 7, 2021.

REMINDER: Research through NCATS’ Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) Program: Collaborative Innovation Awards (U01 and R21)

Next due date July 9, 2021. More information on PAR-19-099 (U01) and PAR-19-100 (R21).

REMINDER: Notice of Change to Key Dates for PAR-18-940 (CTSA U54)

Notice of Change to Key Dates for PAR-18-940 (CTSA U54). August 15, 2021 receipt date has been moved to July 15, 2021. More information on NOT-TR-20-036.

REMINDER: Non-Compliant Publications in RPPRs

Publications not compliant with the NIH Public Access Policy will cause a delay in review and processing of the applicable Notice of Grant Award. NIH cannot issue restricted awards until September 15th.

REMINDER: Implementation of Changes to the Biographical Sketch and Other Support Format Page (NOT-OD-21-110)

Applications, Just-in-Time, and RPPR expected as of May 25, 2021; required on or after January 25, 2022. More information on NOT-OD-21-110. Questions:

REMINDER: Expanding Requirement for eRA Commons IDs to All Senior/Key Personnel (NOT-OD-21-109:)

All individuals listed on the Research & Related Senior/Key Person Profile (Expanded) form must have an eRA Commons ID, effective for grant application due dates on or after January 25, 2022. More information on NOT-OD-21-109.

Invitation to Provide Feedback on the PhenX Toolkit

The PhenX Toolkit is a National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) funded program since 2007 and provides recommended measurement protocols to support the collection of consistent and comparable data. Please help improve the Toolkit by providing feedback at:  The questionnaire will take less than 10 minutes to complete and will help shape the PhenX Toolkit to better address your needs.


New Initiatives in Natural Language Processing (NLP)

Hongfang Liu, PhD, leader of the National COVID Cohort Collaborative (N3C) Natural Language Processing (NLP) Subgroup, has created a process for extracting important variables from the free text or unstructured portion of the electronic health record (EHR). Liu’s process will allow researchers to test their algorithm on data provided by the N3C to see how well it can de-identify unstructured data. Details about the infrastructure of the project can be found on the N3C NLP GitHub wiki page

The NLP process is particularly important for COVID-19 research in the N3C Data Enclave because social determinants of health play a major role in assessing health outcomes, and this information is not captured well in the structured data fields of the EHR.

Dr. Liu and Mayo Clinic have also been key contributors to, an open benchmarking platform that was recently launched. 

ACTIV-6 at TIN Open Forum

ACTIV-6 presentation at TIN Open Forum on Thursday June 17, 2021. More Information and Register Here.

Save the Date – 2021 CTSA Program Annual Meeting

This meeting will take place December 1-3, 2021 online via a virtual platform. 


11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Steering Committee Meeting*


11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Administrators Group Meeting


11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

General Session – Day 1

Networking Poster Session


11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

General Session – Day 2


Additional details, including the registration and poster session links, will be available in mid-August.

*Included on the agenda for reference only. Separate registration may be required.


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