Translational Teams

Translational Teams bring together researchers, educators, community and clinical partners, industry, and students to organize themselves around a complex, multifaceted health problem that is important to the community, and is a major driver of healthcare costs and patient quality of life. These teams actively engage in the three important domains: translational, transdisciplinary research, meaningful community engagement, and student engagement and training.

Support for translational teams is provided through three mechanisms:

  1. College infrastructure: Teams receive administrative support through their academic program administrative assistants, as well as research and student support through the respective Success Hubs.
  2. Initiative facilitation and coordination: The Translational Science initiative provides facilitation, training, and works on strategic projects to foster team development and excellence.
  3. Funding: Funding is available (based upon team level) annually through a budget application process (cycle) each spring. Budgets adhere to a fiscal year cycle.
A standing committee works with the core Translational Science Initiative to advise and assist in successfully implementing Translational Teams.

Get Involved

  1. Groups may apply to become an official Translational Team through the biannual application cycle as either an Early Stage or Established Team. Connect with Al Haddad or Deborah Williams to discuss which Translational Team designation is more appropriate for your group. Additional application information can be found on the Tools for Translational Teams and Affinity Networks page, including templates and guiding resources.
    • 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.
  2. Become part of an existing translational team. Below is a list of our current translational teams; we invite you to explore their mission and scope statements to see which one you might want to work with, and then reach out to the leads (also listed below) to see how you can get involved.

Learn more about Translational Teams and Affinity Networks


  • The Training Affinity Network i is available for all your student, faculty, and staff training related needs. Visit the link above to access the Training AN website, which contains a repository of training materials specifically curated for members of Translational Teams, as well as pathways for requesting new or updated materials for your team’s needs.
  • The Research Participants Registry and Database Affinity Network provide access to the research participants registry. This is an internal site for researchers who want to post their projects to the registry that will be shared once developed.
  • Connect with CHS Investigators, Students and Community Partners

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)

Cancer is the second leading cause of death in Arizona. In 2019, the estimated number of new cancer diagnoses is expected to be over 34,000 and the number of cancer deaths is expected to be over 12,000 in 2019. Over 600,000 people die from cancer each year in the US, though cancer mortality has steadily declined in both Arizona and the US since the early 1990s. The primary reasons for this decline are increased cancer prevention and control (CPC), including early detection (e.g., biological markers), prevention (e.g., interventions or approaches to block and delay early cancer), screening, healthcare delivery, quality of life, and/or survivorship related to cancer. More specifically, improved early detection via screening (e.g., breast cancer), reductions in smoking, and improvements in the quality of cancer care are major reasons for this decrease, but much more research is needed to further reduce cancer mortality, with particular focus on underserved populations because reductions have not been as great in that population. The College of Health Solutions has a strong body of faculty with expertise in cancer prevention and control, but there has been no effort to bring that expertise together to foster collaboration within the College and between CHS faculty and others within and outside of ASU to foster advances in CPC research. Thus, the goal of this early stage translational team is to develop greater collaborative team research across the CPC spectrum, with particular emphasis on development of community partnerships (health care, non-profits, government, business, schools) and engagement of students.

Team Leads: Dorothy Sears, Linda Larkey

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

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

Movement disorders are neurological conditions that impact the function of multiple domains, reducing the overall quality of life of individuals with movement disorders. In the current practice, the symptoms of movement disorders in different domains are treated separately and often without consideration of other domains. This translational team’s objective is to develop integrative solutions for rehabilitation for movement disorders and reduce the time between laboratory discovery to implementation in practice.

Co-Leads: Ayoub Daliri, Daniel Peterson

The key goals of this translational team are to mobilize expertise, partnership building and collaborative potential at CHS along with key community partners to develop translational interdisciplinary research capacity to tackle pressing public health issues related to substance use and substance use disorders. Our focus is on the emerging local community needs, along with potential expansion and application to broader national and international settings. The team will focus on the development of multi-faceted and interdisciplinary approaches that integrate perspectives and methodologies related to clinical interventions and diagnostics, population health, epidemiological surveillance, health systems, policy, and workforce development. The Substance Use Translational Team will enhance student learning and engagement by providing research opportunities, expanded access to local community partners, and collaborative work.

Team Leads: Raminta Daniulaityte, Ron O'Donnell, Matthew Martin

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)

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

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: Dorothy Sears, Tannah Broman, David Larson

The National Safety Net Advancement Center (SNAC), “the Center,” at Arizona State University (ASU) focuses upon interventions to improve equity and access for underserved populations; and determining how organizations that help underserved populations respond to payment reform and care delivery reform. Six sectors provide the preponderance of the health care safety net system: a) Federally Qualified Health Centers, b) Community Mental Health Centers, c) Public County Hospitals, d) Tribal Health Centers, e) Critical Access Hospitals, and f) Oral Health Providers. Collectively, these six sectors consist of over 6,200 organizations and provide care to an estimated 106 million persons.

Team Lead: William Riley

Application Information

Translational Team application cycles are listed below.

Spring application and budget requests deadline: April 1 at 11:59 p.m.
Fall application deadline (team approval only-no funding): Oct. 31 at 11:59 p.m.

Early Stage Translational Team Application

Established Translational Team Application

Application Guides

Application Templates

Required Reporting

Translational Teams complete an annual report each year. Part of this reporting includes updating team information into the Community Partners and Research Engagement (ComPaRE) database. This searchable database provides information on community partners, research collaborators, expertise, awards, proposals, and projects. Entering your team data minimizes the reporting requirements each year.

Contact Information

Scott Leischow
Executive Director, Clinical and Community Translational Science

Deborah L. Williams
Associate Director, Clinical and Community Translational Science

Al Haddad
Project Coordinator, Clinical and Community Translational Science

Emery Young
Project Coordinator, Clinical and Community Translational Science

Page updated on Nov 22, 2021 2:43 pm MST