Developing senior leadership for clinical and translational science

J Clin Transl Sci. 2018 Jun;2(3):124-128. doi: 10.1017/cts.2018.34. Epub 2018 Sep 10.


The fifth in a 5-part series on the clinical and translational sciences educational pipeline, this paper focuses on strategies for developing leadership capacity among senior faculty and administrators responsible for clinical and translational science (CTS) research. Although progression in academic rank recognizes scientific excellence in research or scholarship, neither disciplinary training nor experience alone prepare senior faculty for the leadership challenges they inevitably face. Yet these faculty are increasingly responsible for multidisciplinary teams working within complex organizations with unclear or conflicting incentives that demand innovation. In academic health centers with Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSAs), investing in leadership often includes career development support in the CTSA education and training pillar programs. Only a few CTSAs have taken an intentional approach to developing senior leadership capacity, however, and still fewer have focused specifically on building such capacity for current CTS leaders within the context of a growing emphasis on team science. This manuscript explains the need for senior leadership training and describes an established example of such a program, the year-long Leadership for Innovative Team Science program for senior CTS researchers at the University of Colorado. The development of the program over time, topical elements, and participant perspectives are provided.

Keywords: Clinical translational research; career development; human capital; leadership; training.