Author: Eliza

CICATS Luncheon Seminar Series featuring Mary Woolley, President and CEO of Research!America on December 16

mwheadshotcolor2012We are exited to announce an upcoming CICATS Luncheon Seminar Series on Friday, December 16, 2016 in the Low Learning Center at UConn Health, from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Mary Woolley, President and CEO, of Research!America, the nation’s largest nonprofit public education and advocacy alliance, will present on the topic, “Your Role in Changing Hearts and Minds for Science,” which will focus on the state of research relating to the incoming White House administration:

For the first time in six years both legislative branches and the White House will be in the same party’s hands. During this unprecedented time of transition, scientists must help ensure that the public, media, new and current policymakers hear about the benefits of research from the standpoint of how science contributes to economic growth and prosperity, national security, and better health. At a time when Congress and the public may be taking medical progress for granted, if they think about it at all, and given heightened public and policymaker demand for less government spending as well as more transparency and accountability, scientists themselves need to be more engaged in public outreach. Mary Woolley, president and CEO, Research!America will discuss the current state of federal science and health research agency budgets, share relevant public opinion survey data and provide insights on how to effectively communicate with the public, policymakers and the media.

Lunch will be provided starting at 12:30 p.m.
Registration is now closed. The seminar may be viewed by visiting our MediaSite page and selecting “CICATS Seminar Series.”

This luncheon seminar is hosted by the Connecticut Institute for Clinical and Translational Science (CICATS) at UConn and the Kavli Foundation.


2nd Annual National Health Disparities Elimination Summit a great success

The 2nd Annual National Health Disparities Elimination Summit was held on Saturday, October 29 in Keller Auditorium on the campus of UConn Health in Farmington, Conn. Close to 200 attendees heard from speakers who touched upon health disparity topics afflicting communities nationwide including asthma, environmental justice, gun violence in urban communities, and environmental racism.

The day-long program was divided into three sessions to show the impact of how environments are creating or exacerbating health disparities: Physical Environments: Where We Live and Work; Healthcare Environments – Acknowledging the Impact and Value of Diversity: Providers, Patients & Communities; and Social Environments – Addressing Social Structural Issues Impacting Health Outcomes through Policy and Community Engagement.

The distinguished cadre of speakers and their presentations cultivated an engaged audience whose questions and commentary spurred productive discussions and debate.

To read more about the 2nd Annual National Health Disparities Elimination Summit, view this article from UConn Today. The Summit website can also provide a wealth of information about the event, including the agenda and list of speakers.

Mustafa Santiago Ali

Indian National Academy of Engineering elects Dr. Cato Laurencin

Dr. LaurencinDr. Cato T. Laurencin, CICATS Chief Executive Officer, has been elected a Foreign Fellow by the Indian National Academy of Engineering (INAE) for his outstanding accomplishments bridging engineering and medicine. It is the second time Laurencin has been honored by India, as he was elected a Foreign Fellow by the Indian National Academy of Sciences in 2015. Laurencin is now the first American-born scientist to be elected to both of these academies of India.

To read more, check out this article originally published on UConn Today.

FOX 61 Connecticut’s ‘The Stan Simpson Show’ previews upcoming National Health Disparities Elimination Summit

ss-show_100816Dr. Linda Barry, chief operating officer and assistant director of CICATS and co-chair of the 2nd Annual National Health Disparities Elimination Summit, appeared on “The Stan Simpson Show” and highlighted many of the topics that will be discussed during the upcoming summit. Dr. Barry explained the theme, Living in America Today: Transforming Environments to Eliminate Health Disparities, and how it will drive discussions focusing on the impact physical (e.g. Flint, Mich. lead water contamination), health care (e.g. role of diversity in improving patient outcomes), and social (e.g. societal structural issues such as gun violence) environments and how they create and exacerbate health disparities.

The segment featuring Dr. Barry is available for viewing. If you would like to learn more about the 2nd Annual National Health Disparities Elimination Summit, please head to the website where you can also register to attend.


Dr. Linda Barry previews National Health Disparities Elimination Summit on Philadelphia’s 900AM WURD

Chief Operating Officer and Assistant Director of CICATS, Dr. Linda Barry, who is also co-chair of the 2nd Annual National Health Disparities Elimination Summit, previewed the upcoming summit on 900AM WURD Philadelphia’s “The MOJO” with Stephanie Renee. During the twenty-minute segment, Dr. Barry highlighted the three primary areas in which the summit will focus: including the impact of your environment – specifically the physical, social, and health care environments within communities, and how they create or exacerbate health disparities. Every community experiences their own health disparities, from Philadelphia to Hartford to Flint and beyond, and Dr. Barry emphasized the importance of gathering thought leaders together to create solutions.

The interview has been archived on the CICATS website. If you would like to learn more about the National Health Disparities Summit, which is open to the public, please head to the Summit website.

CICATS announces 2nd Annual National Health Disparities Elimination Summit

The 2nd Annual National Health Disparities Elimination Summit will be taking place on Saturday, October 29, 2016 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in Keller Auditorium at UConn Health.

This year’s Summit will take a holistic approach and focus on how different environments, such as the physical environment (e.g. Flint, Michigan water crisis), healthcare environment (e.g. role of diversity in improving outcomes) and social environment (societal structural issues such as gun violence), are creating or exacerbating health disparities. Where you live matters. Therefore, patients, health care providers, political leaders and community leaders can each make a positive impact to improve their environment, resulting in improved health outcomes in their communities.

Mustafa Santiago Ali, Senior Advisor, US Environmental Protection Agency Environmental Justice & Community Revitalization, has been announced as the keynote speaker. Presenters throughout the day will share information regarding efforts to eliminate health disparities and will discuss the current state of African American and Latino Health in America today. The discussion will also include an emphasis on community involvement in the development of promising, effective strategies to reduce and eliminate disparities.

Please visit the Summit website for additional information and to register.

Two-day OHRP Research Community Forum coming to Hartford, October 25-26

ohrpHartford HealthCare and the Office for Human Research Protections (OHRP) are hosting a Research Community Forum, “Foundations of Trust: Connecting Our Community to Research” on Tuesday, October 25-26, 2016 at the Hartford Marriott Downtown. The two-day event will include exhibits, presentations, interactive workshops and networking opportunities.

Dr. Linda Barry, chief operating officer and assistant director of CICATS, will be a featured speaker at the forum.

For more information and to register, please visit the symposium website.

Introducing CICATS’ 2016 Young Innovative Investigator Program (YIIP) Scholars

The Connecticut Institute for Clinical and Translational Science (CICATS) at the University of Connecticut (UConn) is proud to announce its 2016 Young Innovative Investigator Program (YIIP) Scholars: Aundrya Montgomery, Shania Aponte-Paris, Aaliyah Riccardi, and Archibald Agyekum-Yamoah.  As part of YIIP, these Scholars will have the opportunity to pursue a Graduate Certificate of Research Experience in Biomedical Science from UConn upon successful completion of coursework during their first year.  In year two, Scholars who meet the academic qualifications will have the option to pursue a Master of Science degree in Biomedical Science from UConn.

YIIP is a full-time graduate program at UConn that provides a focused research experience for underrepresented minority post-baccalaureate students dedicated to pursuing scientific careers in in biological and biomedical science. YIIP provides the academic training and tools to Scholars to conduct research, succeed in an academic environment, and become competitive candidates for a M.D., M.D.-Ph.D., or Ph.D. program.  CICATS created YIIP to develop the next generation of innovative biomedical scientists, in addition to addressing the dire need to increase the number of minority students entering the field of medicine and research.

Almost 30 applications were received through a far-reaching competitive application process from students across the U.S., Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.  The selected YIIP Scholars distinguished themselves based on academic merit, research interest and career aspirations.

On Monday, August 15, CICATS held a celebratory breakfast to welcome the new YIIP Scholars. Dr. Cato T. Laurencin, chief executive officer of CICATS, provided the welcome remarks and Dr. Linda Barry, chief operating officer of CICATS and YIIP program director, introduced each Scholar and shared an overview of their background which made them compelling candidates. Each YIIP Scholar expressed their gratitude for acceptance to the program and what they hope to achieve.  Guests included administrators, faculty and staff from across UConn and UConn Health.

CICATS would like to thank the YIIP Selection Committee members: Drs. Biree Andemariam, Linda Barry, Caroline Dealy, Kimberly Dodge-Kafka, Christopher Heinen, Victor Hesselbrock, Anne Kenny, Barbara Kream, Carol Pilbeam, Anthony Vella, and Granville Wrensford. We appreciate the M1 Mentors: Drs. Elaine Lee, Syam Nukavarapu, and Anne Delany for their continued dedication and commitment to the program.

CICATS congratulates the four Scholars and looks forward to their growth and success in the program.



Aundrya Montgomery

Aundrya Montgomery, a member of the United States Army National
Guard, recently graduated from Alabama State University with a B.S.
in Biology/Pre-Health. She conducted biomedical research, with a
focus in nanotechnology. She also volunteered within the Emergency
Medical Services (EMS) department of a local fire station. Her
motivation to improve outcomes for wounded soldiers through
research is the basis for pursuing a M.D./Ph.D. degree. Aundrya
intends to practice medicine in the military while conducting research
on limb regeneration and wound healing.

Shania Aponte-Paris

Shania Aponte-Paris, a resident of Puerto Rico, graduated Magna
Cum Laude from the Universidad Adventista de los Antilles with a B.S.
in Biology. Her participation in an NIH research program at Loma
Linda University resulted in her presenting at several scientific
meetings. Shania intends to obtain her M.D./Ph.D. degree at a medical
school in the United States.

Aaliyah Riccardi

Aaliyah Riccardi graduated with Honors with a B.S. in Biology from
the University of Connecticut. As a McNair Scholar, she conducted
biomedical research in the Physiology and Neurobiology department.
Aaliyah plans to practice in the field of pediatric oncology, particularly
in underserved areas.
ArchieArchibald Agyekum-Yamoah Archibald Agyekum-Yamoah, a native of Ghana, is a U.S. permanent resident who emigrated here in 2009. He graduated from the University of Ghana with a B.S. in Zoology, and Magna Cum Laude from Southern Connecticut State University with a B.S. in Biochemistry/Chemistry and a minor in Mathematics. He was employed as a Regulatory Specialist in the private sector. Archibald intends to balance his career as a physician with conducting basic scientific research to improve the lives of underserved populations in the U.S., and collaborate with other physicians to improve the health system in Ghana.

Med student interns at National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Tiahna Spencer, second year student at the UConn School of Medicine, returned to Connecticut after completing eight weeks of research experience at the largest biomedical research agency in the world, the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Spencer’s mentor at the UConn School of Medicine, Dr. Cato T. Laurencin, encouraged her to apply for the internship, which brought her to Bethesda, Maryland, at the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases in the lab of Dr. Mariana Kaplan, renowned researcher of systemic autoimmune diseases.

“I am convinced she will continue being a successful physician/researcher,” Laurencin wrote in his letter of recommendation to the NIH. “She has the right mix of intelligence, initiative and work ethic to make her succeed in anything.”

The full article is available in UConn Today.


CICATS CEO featured in Valley LIFE magazine

Dr. Cato T. Laurencin, chief executive officer of CICATS, was featured in the August 2016 issue of Valley LIFE magazine, a community publication covering the towns of Avon, Burlington, Canton, Farmington, Granby, and Simsbury, Connecticut.  Dr. Laurencin’s distinguished career and his recent honor at the White House where he was presented with the National Medal of Technology and Innovation were highlighted, as well as a Q&A.

The full article is available for viewing.