Southern California Clinical and Translational Science Institute
Translating Science into Solutions for Better Health

Investigators Pitch Studies to Improve Patient Care


More than 20 researchers pitched ideas with leaders of the three organizations, seeking funding to test real-world health care solutions with the LA Department of Health Services.

The second year of an innovative academic-public research partnership between the SC CTSI, the UCLA CTSI and the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services has begun with a new call for proposals to pilot interventions to improve delivery of patient care throughout the public health system.

The pilot studies are the centerpiece of a partnership intended to focus the research capabilities of the two CTSI hubs within the county-wide healthcare delivery functions of the LA DHS.

The partnership program is offering two grants up to $75,000 each for one year to support the design and small scale implementation of interventions to improve patient care at LA DHS.

The program called for pilots to test solutions that are:

  • For a bona fide problem within healthcare;
  • Aligned with DHS infrastructure, business approach and operations;
  • Involve broad participation across sites and disciplines; and
  • Focused on effectiveness in real-world settings, as opposed to efficacy.

On September 18, the three organizations hosted a networking workshop at the USC Broad CIRM Center to give investigators a chance to pitch pilot project ideas before senior members of SC CTSI, UCLA CTSI and LA DHS, who offered critiques and suggestions. Approximately two dozen investigators presented a variety of potential study ideas across the medical spectrum, from cancer to psychiatry to pediatric health.

Hal Yee, MD, PhD, DHS, Chief Medical Officer of the LA DHS, urged investigators to consider DHS priorities, scale, perspective and feasibility as they frame their questions and proposals. "Consider what will have the most impact on the greatest number of people," he said.

Hal Yee, MD, PhD, DHS, Chief Medical Officer of the LA DHS

The deadline for letters of intent for the pilot program, Implementation Science to Improve Patient Care, is October 23. Full proposals will be due December 6 and awardees will be notified in early 2018.

The LA DHS is the nation's second-largest public health system, with an operating budget of $5 billion and a diverse population of hundreds of thousands of patients.

"This collaboration is an excellent way to focus our strengths as academic researchers on questions of implementation and effectiveness in real-world settings," said Thomas A. Buchanan, MD, Director of the SC CTSI.

SC CTSI director Thomas A. Buchanan, MD

The SC CTSI and UCLA CTSI will offer a range of support and services to researchers access DHS resources, said Buchanan.

SC CTSI leaders hope the collaboration with the LA DHS will serve as a national model for the study of implementation science. Research often fails to successfully transition from early stage experimental phases to the real world, explained Michele D. Kipke, PhD, Co-Director of the SC CTSI.

"There are all sorts of barriers when it comes to moving tested ideas into real-world settings," said Kipke. "This program is about learning to manage those barriers."