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CTSC Community & Collaboration Component Engages Stakeholders through Team Science
In 2018, The Clinical and Translational Science Collaborative (CTSC) of Greater Cleveland was funded for another five-year cycle, providing resources to promote clinical and translational research across a city-wide partnership including CWRU, the Cleveland Clinic, MetroHealth, University Hospitals, and the Louis Stokes Veterans Administration Medical Center. A major component of the CTSC is the Community and Collaboration Component (C&C), which focuses on fostering effective investigative research teams that utilize team science and stakeholder engagement-based approaches to address the health and health care priorities of our population. Dr. Elaine Borawski, Director of the Prevention Research Center for Healthy Neighborhood and Professor in the Department of Population and Quantitative Health Sciences, leads the C&C Component.

Finding solutions to challenging problems requires the collaboration and integration of multidisciplinary teams, often from different institutions. Although interdisciplinary scientific collaboration has many success stories, in other cases these teams fail to integrate their diverse knowledge due to gaps in communication, geography, or coordination. To assist such interdisciplinary research teams, the C&C Component is gearing up to provide a broad offering of resources around training and team science support.

Anna Thornton Matos, Dr. Maritza Salazar Campo, and Dr. Elaine Borawski
REACH Project Manager Anna Thornton Matos, national team science expert Maritza Salazar Campo, PhD, and PRCHN Director Elaine Borawski, PhD.
Dr. Maritza Salazar Campo
National team science expert Maritza Salazar Campo, PhD, introduces the Principles of Interdisciplinary Communication workshop.
Visit from Team Science Expert
In December 2018, the C&C Component recruited teams representing colleague scientists across multiple disciplines and from all CTSC partner institutions to work with invited team science expert Maritza Salazar Campo, PhD, of the Merage School of Business at UC-Irvine. Dr. Salazar Campo leads a National Science Foundation (NSF) team science research project that studies the effectiveness of modules focused on the Principles of Interdisciplinary Communication and Strategic Team Design as part of a national Team Science curriculum 

Eight teams ranging in size from four to ten individuals participated in one of the two workshops led by Dr. Salazar Campo. Participants included faculty, department heads, research staff, graduate assistants, and doctoral/post-doctoral students. Topics identified by the teams ranged from tobacco cessation, trauma-based inventions, and the use of technology to mitigate social determinants of health to increasing the deployment and integration of community health workers, among others.

Dr. Salazar Campo’s study of the science of team science looks at communication as an ongoing process, with a focus on integrative capacity, that is, the extent to which a team combines its distinct expertise and work into a unified whole. The Principles of Interdisciplinary Communication workshop focused on four evidence-based principles that help teams develop integrative capacity, including promotive voice, perspective seeking, team reflection, and managing connections. The Strategic Team Design workshop took teams through a systemic process intended to help them establish aims, outputs, and deliverables; identify and understand relevant sources of knowledge; and enhance team effectiveness by strategically configuring knowledge to meet team objectives. 
 
While at CWRU, Dr. Salazar also presented as part of the PRCHN’s Monthly Seminar Series. In her presentation, she explored the role of team leaders and team training on facilitating innovation. Using a field experiment, she also illustrated the collaborative work practices that foster knowledge integration among specialized team members working together to address a complex biomedical problem. Her seminar presentation is available to view on the PRCHN website.

Pilot Grant for Team Science Support 
This spring, the C&C component selected six multi-disciplinary teams to develop action plans around translational research projects (TRPs) aimed at addressing a population health problem. Teams applied in January to receive a package of support that includes one 3-4 hour collaborative working retreat and up to 30 hours of pre-and post-retreat administrative support to be used for planning, scheduling, meeting logistics, and action plan development. Both graphic and written recorders are present at the retreats and, if requested, a trained group facilitator provided. The teams were required to include investigators from more than one discipline and at least one engaged community stakeholder. The goal of this short-term funding opportunity was to provide support for the development of a feasible and actionable plan that identifies a minimum of three TRPs aimed at addressing the issue and having the potential to improve population health outcomes in the Greater Cleveland area.  

The six selected teams in this inaugural program include:

Human Fusions Initiative
Goal: To transform the relationship between humans and technology by utilizing neural engineering technology such that, for example, the brain of an individual wearing a prosthetic limb recognizes that prosthesis as a part of the human body. 

Reinventing Health Surveillance to Leverage Developing Technology for Health Improvement
Goal: To reexamine our approach to health surveillance through the lens of rapidly developing, disruptive technologies that combine big data, artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, spatial and digital epidemiology, and social media analytics.

Team Science for Interprofessional Education
Goal: To study the role and impact of interprofessional student teams on patient outcomes, as well as, how to translate these findings into more refined interventions.

Building a Translational Research Agenda to Promote Environmental Health in NE Ohio
Goal: To develop a collaborative, community-engaged translational research agenda for the Swetland Center to advance health equity at the crossroads of the environment and health.

Achieving Health Equity through Cross-Sector Collaboration Focused on Systems Change
Goal: To better understand and measure the impact of HIP-Cuyahoga on health inequities in Cuyahoga County through system change operationalized within our partnership.

Addressing Tobacco Use Disparities in Cleveland
Goal: To develop a comprehensive, citywide plan to develop, implement and evaluate effective interventions to reduce the extremely high rate of tobacco use among Cleveland residents, within the context of better understanding the underlying drivers of addiction to nicotine and tobacco in this population.

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