Emma Fernandez-Repollet, Ph.D., Chair, RTRN Steering Committee, University of Puerto Rico Medical Sciences Campus

The RCMI Translational Research Network (RTRN) contributions to enhancing research capacity and reducing health disparities emerge from a distinct vision of equity. As the governance body of that fundamental vision, the Steering Committee continues to seek new ways to engage RCMI investigators, including the lay community, in their pursuit to strengthen research competence for multi-site clinical and translational studies, promote research collaborations, and address health concerns in underserved communities.

The effectiveness of the Steering Committee is dependent upon the level of commitment demonstrated by its members, who are selected based on their individual knowledge and skills that they bring to the Committee. The main responsibility of the Committee is assuring RTRN success. Much of the work of the Steering Committee is accomplished through the establishment of subcommittees. Currently, there are six subcommittees in the areas of Protocol Review, Education and Dissemination, Core Resources, Ethics and Regulatory, Publications and Presentations and Community Engagement.

The subcommittees have been instrumental in identifying research tools and technologies available at the participating RCMI sites available to enhance translational research; developing an online Translational Research in Health Disparities Course; reviewing manuscripts and abstracts submitted for presentations at professional meetings; developing standard operating procedures to implement an IRB Harmonization agreement designed to expedite the approval and implementation of multi-site research studies; reviewing and ranking applications to the Small Grant Award Program, and encouraging community partnerships and engagement. Subcommittees have also led efforts toward integrating translational research clusters, key function leaders and community liaisons, to ensure effective and mutually satisfying collaborations.

Committed to ensure community involvement in research activities, the Steering Committee will continue to support RTRN to leverage scientific expertise, share technologies and innovations, and disseminate discoveries and information to undeserved communities. These complementary initiatives assist the Network to forge new paths in scientific inquiry and new collaborations within and outside RCMI institutions.

Our goals are driven by the great commitment of our members to fulfill RTRN’s vision and ultimately reduce health disparities. With the continued engagement of our institutions, we aim to carry this momentum through equally ambitious endeavors in future years.

Season’s greetings!

Dr. Emma Fernandez-Repollet, Chair