Heather Kirkwood, VP and Director of Communications for the HPS Network, represented the HPS patient community at the first NCATS Day at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). NCATS, or the National Center for Advancing Translational Science, is one of 27 institutes and centers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). It is charged with transforming the translational process so that new treatments and cures for disease can be delivered to patients sooner.
Each section of NCATS gave a short presentation on its function, and then attendees were divided into six groups to discuss how NCATS can better, and most efficiently, interact with patient communities to ensure the patient voice is included in the research process.
“I was really impressed with the number of NCATS staff that attended the event, and how truly excited they seemed to be interacting with the patient community,” said Kirkwood, “I’m really looking forward to participating in future NCATS events and watching this process unfold further.”
Jean-Marc D. Quach, President and CEO of the Alpha I Project Inc., and Michael Iannotti, PhD and Postdoctoral Fellow with the Division of Pre-Clinical Innovation at NCATS gave a joint presentation on how the Alpha 1 community and NCATS have partnered on Alpha 1 research. “It was a great presentation. Coming from a journalism background, I love case studies and look forward to seeing more of them representing all type of patient groups of all sizes and resource levels,” said Kirkwood.
Much of the day was then spent between NCATS staff and community representatives to exchange ideas and provide feedback.