New Team Science
Training at ITHS

Apr 9, 2018

To leverage the strengths and expertise of investigators from
different disciplines to address complex scientific problems.

In 2017, the Institute of Translational Health Sciences (ITHS) received a five-year, $57 million Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) from the National Institutes of Health (UL1 TR002319).  Using this funding, ITHS began implementing a number of thematic and structural changes to its programs at the UW, UW Medical Center and WWAMI (Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho) region partner institutions. A goal of this new grant is to incorporate team science training into ITHS programs to leverage the strengths and expertise of investigators from different disciplines to address complex scientific problems, accelerate scientific innovation, and translate their scientific findings into practices and policies. Three team science training events have occurred this past year: a faculty development series workshop (November 30, 2017), a workshop with the ITHS TL1 grantees (January 9, 2018), and a Boot Camp with ITHS leadership (February 15–16, 2018).

On January 9, 2018, approximately 20 ITHS TL1 grantees came together at the UW Health Sciences Building for a morning of team training focused on team building and communication. Led by UW School of Nursing faculty members Brenda Zierler, PhD, RN, FAAN and Erin Blakeney, PhD, RN, attendees learned competencies of team science and practiced communication skills with team activities. The TL1 program, managed by ITHS, is a one-year mentored research training program in translational science for predoctoral students from any of the six health sciences schools. This program creates a cross-disciplinary community of emerging researchers and provides them with specific training, career development opportunities to help them function effectively within translational science teams. To read more about the TL1 training, go to

On February 15 and 16, 2018, a Team Science and Lean-R Training Boot Camp was held for approximately 55 ITHS leaders at the UW Waterfront Activities Center. The first of an annual event, this interactive team training focused on five competencies of team science: Teamwork Communication, Agreements, Personality & Bias, and Leadership. Drs Zierler and Blakeney, along with Jennifer Sprecher, Director of Lean Performance for ITHS, led this two-day workshop, providing opportunities for teams to strengthen project work and team functioning and communication skills.

Participants were surveyed after the Boot Camp. All of survey completers said the Boot Camp enhanced their knowledge of Lean-R and Team Science. Furthermore, of those that completed the survey 93% said they felt greater psychological safety in their work with the broader ITHS community and 70% found each of the hands-on learning activities during the workshop relevant to their work.

Other teams receiving future targeted team training during the five-year grant include the KL2 program at ITHS, Engineering in Health student teams at the UW, Heart Failure and Oncology teams at the UW Medical Center, and partner institutions in the WWAMI region.

For more information about the ITHS, go to

For more information about Team Science, go to the Team Science Toolkit on the NIH’s National Cancer Institute website at