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Translational Teams

Translational Teams at the College of Health Solutions form with the goal of improving the way new discoveries are put into practice to address complex health needs in communities.

Translational Teams comprise scientists, educators, practitioners and students who organize themselves around a pressing health problem that is multifaceted, has a complex etiology, is important to the community, and is a major driver of health care costs and patient quality of life.

A standing committee works with groups to develop and successfully implement Translational Teams through an established application process.

Groups interested in applying should connect with Al or Abdul to discuss which Translational Team designation is more appropriate for the team early on in development:

  • Early Stage: Some evidence of collaboration on a health issue is evident but additional support is needed to strengthen collaboration and involvement with community partners and students to be able to implement a pilot research project.
  • Established: A group has sufficient development around a clearly defined health issue to submit a large grant application proposal within two years.

Learn more about Translational Teams and Affinity Networks

Learn about the new COVID-19 Translational Team

Application Information

The Spring cycle for the Translational Team application period is listed below.

Spring 2021 application deadline: April 1 at 11:59 p.m.

Early Stage Translational Team Application

Established Translational Team Application

Application Guides

Application Templates

Required Reporting


Information Sessions

Date and Time Event
April 30, 2021

Approved Translational Teams

Early Stage Teams

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) affects one in 59 individuals. The average lifetime public cost of ASD is approximately $4.7 million per affected person. Premature mortality is increased in ASD, largely related to co-occurring medical conditions. Moreover, adult outcomes for individuals with ASD are grim. Historically, only three to 16 percent of adults with ASD have lived independently. Employment rates have ranged from four to 34 percent. They experience a markedly lower quality of life compared to neurotypical adults, with about 70 percent experiencing depression and/or anxiety. The Autism Spectrum Disorder Translational Team has current translational ASD research and student training underway in several spaces, and the capabilities for future work are very broad. Significant contributions will be made toward optimizing interventions, understanding co-occurring conditions and identifying biomarkers in ASD, with a special focus on the underserved population of aging adults.

Team Leads: Blair Braden (PI), Maria Dixon (co-PI)

This Translational Team capitalizes on an existing relationship established between the ASU College of Health Solutions and the Barrow-St. Joseph’s Cleft Palate Craniofacial Team which is a large regional team with aspirations to engage in training and research with this clinical population. This proposal will expand our current student training and research collaboration to address the projects that will optimize communication and feeding outcomes in an interprofessional environment. The Translational Team will focus on developing a research plan to guide future grant applications. We plan to include students at the undergraduate and graduate levels for who are rotating through clinical placements and provide additional opportunities to engage in research experiences. Additionally, we hope to increase grant funding could provide support for additional students. Of particular interest are projects that would improve access to services for children with craniofacial conditions in Arizona. We plan to add more disciplines as the research plan is formalized.

Team Leads: Nancy Scherer, Kelly Cordero

A significant amount of innovative maternal child health-related work is underway in the College of Health Solutions and Arizona State University. Much of this work is disciplinarily driven and conducted in siloes. The purpose of the Translational Team (TT) in Maternal Child Health (MCH) is to create a MCH community of practice and a collaboratory for transdisciplinary research across the translational spectrum. For this application, we are leveraging an existing training grant (TRANSCEND Program) on maternal child health, and plan to align work with strategic areas of emphasis within MCH at MCHB/HRSA and NIH: first 1000 days, behavioral health of children and mothers, children with special health care needs, childhood obesity prevention, opioid crisis, and social determinants of health. As currently planned, the TT will have 4 core domains: MCH research, MCH training, MCH community network, MCH healthcare network We are creating co-leads for each of these domains (ideally, one NTE and TT per domain), with an emphasis of supporting junior faculty development. Our ultimate aim is being prepared for a MCH Center of Excellence grant ($4.6M). This TT also anticipates obtaining additional federal and foundational funding for specific translational research projects and transdisciplinary training grants.

Team Leads: Meg Bruening, Cady Berkel

This Translational Team Domain was formed as a rapid response initiative within the College of Health Solutions to respond to COVID-19 with the aim of addressing the various facets of the challenges brought on or exacerbated by the pandemic within the state of Arizona. COVID-19 represents a problem that affects the health of the population through acute illness and impacts on the health system that can disrupt ongoing care for chronic illness. It affects vulnerable and minority populations to a great extent and can thus worsen disparities in care in the community. The approach to the problem will need to be interprofessional and multi-disciplinary with knowledge applied from basic science, social science, clinical science and the science of healthcare delivery. As such it is an ideal area for a translational team for CHS.

Team Leads: David Sklar, Brad Doebbeling, Matthew Scotch

Established Teams

Only 62 percent of students with learning disabilities graduate from high school in the U.S., with rates as low as 23 percent in some states (National Center for Education Statistics, 2013). The long-term effects of dropping out of school include limited employment opportunities linked to poor health outcomes (Egerter et al., 2009) and lower life expectancy (Begier, Li, and Meduro, 2013). Individuals with low literacy have marked difficulty understanding medical brochures, prescription drug information and informed consent for medical procedures. The Child Language and Literacy Translational Team’s approach to this pressing problem is to intervene when children are very young before they fail in school. The team developed and is testing the efficacy of a preschool curriculum shown to improve the early literacy and oral language skills of young children with disabilities or children from low-income homes. A key challenge is to deliver the necessary professional development training to teachers in rural locations so that they can implement the curriculum with high fidelity. In this Translational Team project we work with community partners to develop an effective distance professional development program.

Team Lead: Shelley Gray (PI)

Replace current abstract with the following: Unhealthy lifestyles and health systems that do not provide sustainable health services are leading to an epidemic of Type 2 diabetes. The consequences of this epidemic on individuals’ short and long-term health, worker productivity, health care practice, and costs to the community and nation are enormous and rising rapidly. Although a few US states are faring relatively well, Arizona is not one of these. Nearly 30% of adults in Arizona are obese (over 1.2 million people), putting Arizona among the worst 16 states in the Nation. The Metabolic Health Translational Team seeks to address this growing epidemic of Type 2 diabetes and related metabolic disorders through solutions-oriented research that prepares students to create new solutions. The team engages with community partners to collaboratively implement programs that have a sustainable impact on the health and quality of life of Arizonans. Ongoing projects of our team include (a) workplace interventions to reduce sitting and increase physical activity to prevent metabolic disease; (b) needs assessments in collaboration with community partners to identify optimal diabetes prevention programs; and (c) quality improvement projects with clinical partners. The team welcomes new members that seek to address innovative and translational programs in metabolic health.

Team Leads: Matthew Buman (PI), Dorothy Sears (co-PI)
Co-leads: Mac McCullough (co-lead for Community Engagement), Tannah Broman (co-lead for Student Engagement)

Oral health care is a sector of the health care delivery system where striking disparities are found. Efforts for oral health prevention and improved population health status are tremendously underutilized, in large part due to the current structure of the fee-for-service payment system that diminishes the ability of oral health providers to deliver true value-based care. Indeed, the value-based payment approaches that are becoming the prevailing method in health care are largely absent in oral health. The Translational Team on Value-Based Payment for Oral Health in Arizona embraces the College of Health Solutions’ Triple Aim goal for better and more efficient care while improving the patient care experience. The team will also contribute to a fundamental goal of providing guidance and best practices for local, state and national oral health policy leaders to restructure systems for oral health finance and care delivery. In addition, this cutting-edge translational research project will significantly enhance the student educational experience.

Team Lead: William Riley

Contact Information

Scott Leischow
Director, Translational Science Initiative

Deborah L. Williams
Management Lead, Translational Science Initiative

Al Haddad
Project Coordinator, Translational Science Initiative

Abdurazak Abdurhman
Project Coordinator, Translational Science Initiative

Last page update: February 17, 2021 - 12:49pm