Atlanta Clinical and Translational Science Institute (ACTSI)

Principal Investigator(s): Meltem Alemdar

The Atlanta Clinical and Translational Science Institute (ACTSI) was created in 2007 as one of a national consortium of Clinical and Translational Science Institutes (CTSI) funded by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Each member of this national consortium strives to achieve the common goal of translating laboratory discoveries into treatments for patients, engaging communities in clinical research efforts, and training the next generation of clinical investigators.  In Atlanta, the ACTSI is a unique and equal partnership between Emory University, the Georgia Institute of Technology (GT), and the Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM), drawing from the distinctive strengths of each institution to accelerate the translation of laboratory discoveries into healthcare innovations throughout the Atlanta Metropolitan Region.

The ACTSI consists of 10 individual programs, offering expertise, problem solving, and support to investigators in the areas of ethics, regulatory knowledge, biostatistics, epidemiology, research design, biomedical informatics, pediatric research, clinical trials, research technology, community engagement, pilot grant funding, and tracking and evaluation.  Directed by the CEISMC Evaluation Team, the ACTSI Tracking and Evaluation (T&E) Program is the only program with leadership based in the Georgia Institute of Technology.  Figure 1 illustrates the organizational structure of the T&E program, led by CEISMC, but containing members from each of the three ACTSI partner institutions.  

Methodology: The evaluation team uses a Utilization-Focused Evaluation approach, giving careful consideration to how the evaluation results and recommendations will be used by the ACTSI Leadership.  In order to ensure that the evaluation is useful, we also employ a Community-Based Participatory Design, giving ACTSI stakeholders and community members input during the evaluation design and implementation.  The evaluation plan utilizes mixed-methods to collect formative and summative data, employing quantitative and qualitative data collection tools, such as surveys, interviews, focus groups, and working organizational documents.

Within our evaluation framework, it is also important to note that in order to evaluate the effectiveness and impact of the important institutional partnership on the goals of the ACTSI, we are also utilizing Social Network Analysis (SNA).  SNA is an innovative tool that will allow the ACTSI leadership to visualize the network structure among the three institutions through an illustration of partnerships and collaborations at multiple levels of the ACTSI.  The SNA will analyze partnerships and collaborations taking place among and between ACTSI partner institutions, leadership, and investigator levels.

Figure 1: Organizational Structure of the ACTSI Tracking and Evaluation (T&E) Program

Figure 1: Organizational Structure of the ACTSI Tracking and Evaluation (T&E) Program