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Key Terms & Definitions

The translational science and research fields have their own associated language, terms of art, abbreviations, and acronyms. This list of terms is available for reference but is not comprehensive. These are working definitions as understood by UR CTSI staff and faculty, and is not meant to be authoritative.


The Association for Clinical and Translational Science supports the CTSA program by representing 5,000+ members working in academia, industry, nonprofit organizations, and the public sector through support for research, education, advocacy for public policy and funding, and mentoring programs.


Artificial intelligence is the use of computers, machines, datasets, and other systems to replicate the cognitive and creative processes of the human mind for complex, higher-order problem solving. AI includes the subdomains of machine learning and deep learning.


Black, Indigenous, and Other People of Color


The Community Advisory Council, under CCHP, seeks to promote health equity and improve health by combining community expertise with academic knowledge. The council is composed of representatives from community organizations and institutions that represent or serve historically marginalized segments of the population, including health and social services agencies, the faith community, local governments, the City of Rochester school district, local media, and key URMC leaders.


Community-Based Participatory Research is a collaborative approach to research that involves community members or recipients of interventions during all phases of the research process and recognizes the unique strengths that each member of the research team brings.


The Center for Community Health & Prevention works to create environments that support healthy behaviors through disease prevention, healthy living programs, research, education, and policy.


Community-Engaged Research is a philosophy that supports partnership between community members and researchers to identify needs and develop strategies to address them.


The Coordination, Communication, and Operations Support Center fosters collaborative science teams research within the CTSA Program through communications, logistics, collaboration, training, impact analysis, and software and technology support.

Clinical Research

Clinical research is undertaken to produce knowledge to understand, prevent, and treat human diseases and illness, as well as increase health. Clinical research is differentiated through laboratory research by the involvement of research study participants who volunteer to help researchers better understand therapies, technologies, and techniques meant to improve human health.


Continuous quality improvement is a process that improves practice through ongoing, incremental process, system, and outcome assessment and improvement.


The UR CTSI’s Clinical Research Center supports URMC researchers engaged in clinical research through the expertise of its highly trained research nursing and nutrition personnel. The CRC offers a facility where clinical research and drug company-sponsored clinical trials may be conducted. The CRC fosters collaboration between investigators, growth opportunities for researchers, and an environment of research study subject care and safety.

CTSA Consortium

The network of 60+ CTSA institutions committed to improving human health by improving and streamlining science processes, training, and clinical research.


Dissemination and implementation research focuses on how practices, interventions, and policies are applied in real-world healthcare settings including hospitals, schools, communities.

Deaf (as in Deaf culture)

Deaf may refer to people who are deaf, hard of hearing, hearing impaired, have hearing loss, or who have a related disability. It may also describe people who speak American Sign Language. Deaf culture is the distinct practices, traditions, arts, culture, and history shared by people who are Deaf.

Deep Learning

An artificial intelligence method of computation that recognizes complex patterns in datasets to produce useful insights and predictions.


Diversity, equity, and inclusion (or diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility) practices and perspectives help to create a pluralistic culture within a space or community, to include and welcome people and groups who represent every race, creed, color, ability, sexual identity, and gender.

Digital Health

The FDA categorizes digital health as encompassing mobile health, health information technology, wearable devices, telehealth and telemedicine, and personalized medicine. Digital technology includes apps, software, machine learning, and artificial intelligence that support clinical decisions. Digital health technologies span computers, software, sensors, and other devices that serve as medical devices and products supporting health and medicine, or that support the development and study of medical products.


Electronic health records are medical charts accessible by computers and other electronic devices, allowing for a centralized and comprehensive source of a patient’s medical information and history. UR Medicine refers to EHR as eRecord (see below).

ENACT Network

The Evolve to Next-Gen Accrual to Clinical Trials (ENACT) Network builds upon the CTSA Consortium cohort discovery platform, ACT, to enable investigators and trainees at CTSA hubs to conduct EHR-based research on any disease or condition across the network of over 142M patients. Informatics professionals from across the CTSA Consortium use ENACT as a collaborative platform to develop new tools and improve informatics practices.


URMC’s EHR system at Strong Memorial and Highland hospitals and affiliate hospitals. The system (using EPIC software) integrates patient medical history, test results, images, consult notes, and more into an electronic chart.


The UR CTSI’s equity-focused dissemination and implementation function promotes and supports collaboration and team science through work with community members and researchers from the University and region to accelerate translational science and improve population health.

Expanded Access

Expanded access is a pathway for a patient with a life-threatening condition to gain access to an investigational medical product such as a drug or medical device for treatment outside of a clinical trial setting when no comparable treatment options exist.


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is the federal agency responsible for protecting public health through regulation of the production and distribution of food (non-meat, non-dairy or eggs), drugs, vaccines, biological products, and medical devices. It also regulates electronic product radiation, cosmetics and dietary supplements, and tobacco products, and works to speed product innovations.


Federally qualified healthcare centers are federally funded, nonprofit centers or clinics catering to underserved areas and populations, providing primary care regardless of patients’ ability to pay.


The Greater Rochester Practice-Based Research Network is a collaborative network of primary care clinicians and researchers who have the shared goal of improving patient care and outcomes. GR-PBRN supports research initiatives with all populations where science can translate to better care. The network has 147 member practices from primary care specialties and local health systems.

Health Equity

Health equity means that all people can attain their best possible health. Achieving health equity requires addressing historical and contemporary injustices, overcoming economic and social barriers, and eliminating preventable health disparities.

Health Equity Research

Research that aims to transform health and achieve equity. It seeks to address societal factors leading to health disparities and to maximize positive health outcomes for all people.


The Health Equity Research Core Investigator Group is composed of URMC researchers working in health equity research. The group fosters collaborative research relationships.


Investigational device exemptions allow devices under investigation to be used in a clinical study setting to collect data on safety and efficacy.


Investigational new drugs are experimental drugs under study in human clinical trials.


Informatics is the overarching field of study that incorporates data science, big data and health information management, and data analytics into one discipline.

Health Informatics is the science of how to use data, information, and knowledge to improve human health.


An institutional review board reviews and monitors biomedical research involving human subjects. The RSRB is the IRB for the University.


The KL2 is a mentored career development award that supports early career clinicians and is actively linked to another research project or projects. The KL2 offered by UR CTSI provides two years of support for the early career development of multidisciplinary clinical and translational scientists at URMC.

Learning Health System

A healthcare system in which continuous learning and knowledge generation are part of medical practice.

Machine Learning

A subset of AI featuring the development and use of statistical algorithms meant to simulate human thinking to interpret data, specifically through learned actions not explicitly programmed.


The National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences’ mission is to turn research observations into health solutions through translational science, resulting in more treatments for all people more quickly. It is part of the NIH.


The National Center for Deaf Health Research’s mission is to “promote health and prevent disease with populations of Deaf sign language users and people with hearing loss through community-based participatory research.”


The National Institutes of Health is the U.S.’s largest medical research agency, dedicated to making important research discoveries that improve human health. It is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.


The Office of Clinical Research provides tools and services to help University of Rochester Medical Center faculty and staff with the administration of clinical trials.


The Office of Health Equity Research develops and effectively disseminates interventions that ensure health equity. OHER began as an office under UR CTSI and now is part of the CCHP.


URMC’s clinical trial management system that allows researchers to manage protocols, track participant visits, and manage project finances.


The Office of Research IT provides guidance, infrastructure, and other technology support for researchers.


A practice-based research network is a group of collaborative practices that work with researchers to address clinical and organizational challenges in primary care. See GR-PBRN.

Phases of Translational Research

Scientific translation happens along a nonlinear spectrum, with each stage building upon and informing the others:

T0 - Basic Science: Preclinical and animal studies that happen at "the bench" to define molecular mechanisms and drug targets

T1 – Translation to Humans: Clinical trials that assess the safety of a drug, device, or intervention

T2 – Translation to Patients: Clinical trials that test the efficacy of a drug, device, or intervention

T3 – Translation to Clinical Practice: Clinical trials and outcomes research that test long-term impact and cost-effectiveness of a drug, device or intervention that is already on the market

T4 – Translation to Populations: Public health research that tests a drug, device, or intervention's benefit to society

Population Health

Population health refers to the health outcomes of groups of people, includes the distribution of such outcomes within the group, and the factors that influence those outcomes, encompassing social, economic, environmental, and healthcare factors.


The Research Data Integration and Analytics group is a team of experienced data engineers, data managers, and statisticians that provides integrated research study and experimental data management as part of UR CTSI’s Informatics branch.


REDCap is a secure web application for building and managing online surveys and databases.

Regulatory Science

According to the FDA, “regulatory science is the science of developing new tools, standards, and approaches to assess the safety, efficacy, quality, and performance of all FDA-regulated products.”

Research Centers at Minority Institutions

Specialized research centers at institutions that offer doctoral degrees in the health professions or sciences that have significant commitment to educating underrepresented students.

Research Help Desk

A closely monitored and responsive email account ( dedicated to answering questions about research.

Funded by NIH, connects people interested in health research with investigators conducting studies.


The Rochester Early-Stage Investigator Network works across departments and centers to optimize and support training for early-stage investigators from across the translational spectrum.


The research data warehouse, or clinical research data warehouse, is a specialized repository that stores and manages clinical and healthcare data for research purposes.


RocHealthData is an interactive mapping and reporting tool website of nationally representative health-related data mapped locally by census track/zip code.


The Research Subjects Review Board reviews human biomedical research that is conducted or supported by the University.


Real world data/Real world evidence


The Secure Environment for Research Data Analytics platform offers analytical tools, secure data storage, and data backup for URMC researchers.


Study Coordinators Organization for Research & Education Regulatory Support provides support and networking opportunities to clinical research coordinators and staff working in academic settings.


Social Determinants of Health are the factors that affect health and quality of life. They include housing, transportation, neighborhood conditions, racism, discrimination, violence, education, economic opportunity, and more.


The Saunders Research Building is home to the UR CTSI offices, among other URMC units.


StudyPages is a platform providing increased transparency for clinical research, allowing potential study participants to find and volunteer for studies. The platform automates recruitment and retention of study participants, including communications, allowing investigators and their teams to focus more on the research rather than administration.

Team Science

A collaborative research effort between investigators who come from different specialties and fields, allowing them to address more complex, interdisciplinary challenges.


Transforming Expanded Access to Maximize Support and Study is an expanded access program led by the University of Michigan of which UR CTSI is a part.


The Trial Innovation Network is a collaborative initiative composed of the CTSA Program Hubs, Trial Innovation Centers, and the Recruitment Innovation Center that innovatively addresses critical roadblocks in clinical research and accelerates the translation of novel interventions into life-saving therapies.


A grant provided through the NIH CTSA Program for pre- or post-doctoral translational science researchers. UR CTSI’s TL1 is a postdoctoral fellowship focused on population health.

Translational Biomedical Science Program

An interdisciplinary PhD program offered by UR CTSI.

Translational Research

Research that takes scientific discovery and develops applications, specifically in healthcare contexts.

Translational Research Day

UR CTSI’s annual celebration of translational science and research occurring in and around URMC.

Translational Science

According to NCATS, “translational science is the field that generates scientific and operational innovations that overcome longstanding challenges along the translational research pipeline. These include scientific, operational, financial, and administrative innovations that transform the way that research is done, making it faster, more efficient, and more impactful.”


The UNYTE Translational Research Network assists faculty and trainees from participating institutions across upstate New York in increasing the quality and quantity of translational research.