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J Clin Transl Sci. 2017 Oct;1(5):301-309. doi: 10.1017/cts.2017.305. Epub 2017 Dec 28.

The Evolving Collaborative Relationship between Practice-Based Research Networks (PBRNs) and Clinical and Translational Science Awardees (CTSAs).

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Department of Social Work, Elizabethtown College, Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania.
Oregon Rural Practice-based Research Network, and Associate Professor of Family Medicine (School of Medicine) and Community Health (OHSU-PSU School of Public Health), Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, Oregon.
Practice-Based Research Network Shared Resource of the Clinical and Translational Science Collaborative and the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio.
Oregon Rural Practice-based Research Network, and professor of Family Medicine, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, Oregon.
Center for Community Health Integration, Departments of Family Medicine & Community Health, Population & Quantitative Health Sciences, and Sociology, and the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center.



Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSAs) and Practice-based Research Networks (PBRNs) have complementary missions. We replicated a 2008 survey of CTSA-PBRN leaders to understand how organizational relationships have evolved.


We surveyed 60 CTSA community engagement (CE) Directors and 135 PBRN Directors and analyzed data using between and within-group comparisons.


Forty-three percent of CTSA CE Directors (26/60) and forty-two percent of PBRN Directors (57/135) responded. Quantitative responses revealed growing alignment between CTSA/PBRN perceptions, with a few areas of discordance. CE Directors noted declining financial support for PBRNs. PBRN Directors identified greater CTSA effectiveness in PBRN engagement, consultation, and collaborative grant submissions. Qualitative data revealed divergent experiences across CTSA/PBRN programs.


Relationships between CTSAs and PBRNs are maturing; for some that means strengthening and for others a growing vulnerability. Findings suggest a mutual opportunity for PBRNs and CTSAs around applied research. Studies to characterize exemplar CTSA-PBRN collaborations are needed.

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