In the recent years, the NHLBI and NCI have launched separate discussions about the future of epidemiology. As noted in our previous blog posts, the NHLBI convened a working group that generated its recommendations on the strategic transformation of epidemiology (see published report). The NCI’s own recommendations and proposed actions are outlined in its article, “Transforming Epidemiology for 21st Century Medicine and Public Health.” These recommendations have the potential to benefit the field of epidemiology as a whole, beyond HLBS (heart, lung, blood, and sleep) diseases and cancer.
To facilitate further discussion, we list side by side the recommendations for action that emerged from the NCI and NHLBI processes and group them into 7 common thematic areas: leadership, resources, cohorts, methods, workforce, integration and evaluation (Table 1).
We welcome your input on comments and suggestions for actions to further the implementation of the NCI and NHLBI recommendations, to leverage existing epidemiology resources, and build future ones that enable coverage across multiple diseases. The NCI has concurrently posted this topic on their blog to solicit comments from their epidemiology community as well.
The NHLBI has launched its Strategic Visioning Website to obtain input from all corners of the NHLBI community, including you – the epidemiology researcher. You are asked to identify the most compelling questions and critical challenges to the NHLBI in the coming years. Submissions for this round are due no later than May 15, 2015.
A major recommendation from the NHLBI Working Group on epidemiology stated that the NHLBI should “convene a scientific forum to determine the major scientific questions and methodological needs in epidemiology and population science over the next 10-20 years” (see newly published report and previous NHLBI blog post). The Strategic Visioning Website allows you to contribute to that forum.
So go ahead and:
• Crystalize your thoughts on the future scientific questions and methods
• Go to the Strategic Visioning Website
• Submit questions and challenges
• Read and comment on others’ submissions
Contribute to know that your voice from the epidemiology community is heard.
Ongoing discussions on this Digital Forum since 2012 have focused on ways to creatively transform population science. We previously noted that the NHLBI established a working group consisting of selected members of the NHLBI Advisory Council and Board of External Experts to consider how to best transform population science. In December of 2013, we posted to this digital forum the working group roster and the charge.
Now, after more than a year of deliberations, the working group has released its draft report and recommendations to the NHLBI Advisory Council for input and consideration. For your information, the presentation to the NHLBI Council on October 22, 2014 can be found here.
Dr. Michael Lauer, Director, Division of Cardiovascular Sciences, NHLBI, commented on the Working Group’s recommendations at an NHLBI-hosted webinar on October 24, 2014. The summary of his remarks can be found here.
We would like to know what you think. Please share your comments about the recommendation with us and the epidemiology community through this Digital Forum.
Previous posts described future directions in epidemiology research and opportunities to further team science. Building on transformative approaches described on this forum (November 1, 2013 and December 20, 2013), the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis invites interested investigators to develop investigator-initiated grant applications for innovative research that involve new data collection from current study participants. The next MESA contract is anticipated to begin in 2015 and welcomes research that will complement an NHLBI-supported core exam. If you are interested, contact the MESA investigators now to coordinate the process and scientific components. Interested investigators should consider the following as they begin this process:
• MESA Ancillary Study Committee will begin reviewing proposals in February in order to meet a June NIH submission deadline. The study has policies, procedures, and timelines for reviewing and approving ancillary study proposals before a grant application may be submitted for funding.
• Please contact the MESA Coordinating Center as soon as possible to ensure that the proposed research is appropriate for the study population, and to ascertain existing data availability and determine resource needs.
• Submission of applications proposing new data collection in study participants should be coordinated so the participant exam components can be conducted in a single participant visit, in order to minimize participant burden and cost.
If you are interested, please visit the study web site via the links provided above, or contact the study directly.
Prepared by the Epidemiology Branch
Since the beginning of this Digital Forum in March 2012 we have raised questions and encouraged discussion on how to improve the population based studies of heart, lung, and blood diseases. As an Institute, we are facing increasing pressures to re-engineer our strategies for supporting “big science” along with Institute-initiated projects. In a recent post (“Transformation is in the air…”), we noted that the NHLBI would establish a working group on these issues and to consider how best to direct population and clinical epidemiology during this time of big data and small budgets.
That working group, which includes various members of both the NHLBI Advisory Council and the Board of Extramural Experts, has begun meeting to advise the Institute on the creative transformation of epidemiology. For your information, the working group roster and the charge are included on this post. If you have any comments, please feel free to share them with us through this Digital Form.
As described in the previous post, “Transformation is in the air…future directions in epidemiology,” the NHLBI described a planned limited contract renewal of the Framingham Heart Study. The new contract, to start in 2015, will begin the transformation of epidemiology and will have a different structure and format from the previous scientific work scope. Consequently, Framingham Heart Study investigators are encouraging collaboration with interested outside investigators to assemble a portfolio of investigator-initiated grant applications for innovative research that involves new data collection from the participants. If you are interested, now is the time to contact the Framingham Heart Study.
Interested investigators should consider the following as they begin this process:
• The study has its own policies, procedures, and timeline for reviewing and approving ancillary study proposals before a grant application may be submitted for funding.
• Consultation with the study is necessary to ensure the proposed research is appropriate for the study population, ascertain existing data availability, and determine resource needs.
Submission of applications proposing new data collection in study participants should be coordinated so the participant exam components can be conducted in a single participant visit, in order to minimize participant burden and cost.
If you are interested, please visit the study web site via the links provided above, or contact the study directly. The study has announcements regarding this collaborative application process and can provide the necessary information to proceed.
Prepared by the Epidemiology Branch
As the NHLBI moves to advance the state of epidemiology of heart, lung, blood, and sleep diseases and disorders, several new steps were announced at the recent National Heart, Lung, and Blood Advisory Council (NHLBAC) meeting. These initiatives include the establishment of a working group to be led by Dr. Veronique Roger that will include members of both the NHLBAC and the Board of External Experts.
As we address the challenges brought by big data and small budgets, the NHLBI is convening this working group to propose recommendations to the NHLBI director on future directions with existing cohort studies, longer-term epidemiology strategy, and practical clinical trials. The working group will consider the “LEVI’S” concepts – L for large and leveraged; E for external and embedded; V for valuable for informing scientific thought, medical practice, or public policy; I for inexpensive, integrated, and able to preserve/enhance existing investments; and S for scientifically sound.
To provide sufficient time for the working group to address the future direction of cohort studies while preserving the value of existing investments, the NHLBI plans a limited renewal of two cohort studies (the Framingham Heart Study and the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis) to begin at the end of their current project periods in 2015. The working group and the NHLBI aim to strengthen epidemiology by developing a dynamic, state-of-the art program that is achievable and affordable.
We strongly encourage your comments and suggestions, and hope you will consider sharing with us your thoughts on the future directions of epidemiology.
Posted by Michael Lauer, M.D., Director of the NHLBI’s Division of Cardiovascular Sciences.