The CITRA pilot studies program: mentoring translational research.
New York City
Community Health Services
Health Services Research
We developed an innovative pilot studies program to foster partnerships between university researchers and agencies serving older people in New York City. The development of researchers willing to collaborate with frontline service agencies and service agencies ready to partner with researchers is critical for translating scientific research into evidence-based practice that benefits community-dwelling older adults.
We adapted the traditional academic pilot studies model to include key features of community-based participatory research.
In partnership with a network of 265 senior centers and service agencies, we built a multistep program to recruit and educate scientific investigators and agencies in the principles of community-based research and to fund research partnerships that fulfilled essential elements of research translation from university to community: scientific rigor, sensitivity to community needs, and applicability to frontline practice. We also developed an educational and monitoring infrastructure to support projects.
Pilot studies programs developing community-based participatory research require an infrastructure that can supplement individual pilot investigator efforts with centralized resources to ensure proper implementation and dissemination of the research. The financial and time investment required to maintain programs such as those at the Cornell Institute for Translational Research on Aging, or CITRA, may be a barrier to establishing similar programs.