Given the tumult of 2016, it's timely to reflect and recalibrate as we start to turn our attention to a new year. It is hard to believe that 12 months have flown by since I took the position of HCSRN Executive Director, and my own reflections pertain to both the national landscape, and events across the HCSRN.
By and large, passage of the 21st Century Cures Act is regarded as a positive development in its demonstration of bipartisan support for NIH and several signature programs, including the Beau Biden Cancer Moonshot and Precision Medicine Initiative, as well as new funding for opioid and mental health treatment programs. However, concerns about watered down FDA regulatory processes and using prevention and public health funds to pay for the Cures Act has tempered wholesale enthusiasm.
Closer to home, we can close the year with a true sense of accomplishment. In no particular order, here are a few of the wonderful developments from the past year...
1) The HCSRN is now part of the Precision Medicine Initiative's effort to recruit one million volunteers for the "All of Us" cohort study.
2) The Patient Engagement in Research Scientific Interest Group hosted a PCORI-funded workshop on measuring the impact of patient-partnered research--an emergent need as the field of engagement continues to grow.
3) The HCSRN Conference Planning team has introduced a new feature for the 2017 meeting: cross-cutting panel discussions to explore the deep insights and lessons learned from conducting research that is embedded in healthcare delivery. This will enable us to go beyond, "What did you do?" to "How did you do it?"
4) Leaders from across the Network are involved in important national conversations on a wide range of HCSRN-relevant topics, from the use of real-world evidence as a vital complement to traditional clinical trials, to training the next generation of delivery system scientists so that we can realize the promise of true learning health care systems.
Undoubtedly, each of our 20 member organizations has a long list of achievements from the past year, from new hires to new funding. And even if we occasionally compete for the same resources, what I love about our Network is the tangible support we give to one another--that is truly a gift.
Happy New Year!