13 Dec ITHS Expands WWAMI Reach via Network Navigators Program
ITHS is dedicated to speeding science to clinical practice throughout the entire WWAMI-region. To help accelerate this mission, ITHS recently launched the ITHS Network Navigators program.
The program aims to improve regional academic institutions’ access to ITHS resources by creating a network of institutions-specific point people, or Network Navigators, across the five-state WWAMI region. The Network Navigators will act as a gateway to ITHS, helping local academic investigators find the collaborations, resources, and answers they need to advance their research.
With Network Navigators at universities across the WWAMI-region, ITHS will create a region-wide research navigation network to increase engagement in the many services, programs, and training opportunities offered by ITHS.
“Through the Network Navigators program, ITHS aims to develop stronger collaborations with regional academic investigators and achieve greater integration of translational research efforts throughout the region,” said Dr. Mary L. (Nora) Disis, Principal Investigator of ITHS and Associate Dean for Translational Science in the University of Washington School of Medicine. “Through this program, we will continue to strengthen our region’s collaborations.”
The first regional Network Navigator sites have been established at the University of Montana and Montana State University. Additional site partnerships will be established in Alaska, Idaho, and Wyoming as the program continues to develop.
Cindi Laukes, MA, will be the Network Navigator at the University of Montana. Rebecca R. Mahurin, PhD, will be the Network Navigator at Montana State University. Melissa Vaught, PhD, will continue to serve as the Research Navigator at the University of Washington.
Laukes is the Chief Operating Officer for the Neural Injury Center at the University of Montana. Over the past 24 years, she has managed and coordinated over 300 clinical research projects in neuroscience, oncology, and cardiology. She is a clinical instructor and mentor to PharmD and MPH students doing rotations in clinical research at the University of Montana. She is currently the principal investigator on two projects involving Native American communities—one related to brain injury and the other related to breast cancer. Laukes also serves on the steering committee of the ITHS Northwest Participant and Clinical Interactions Network.
“I’m excited to be engaged with the whole circle of communication between the University of Montana and ITHS, in terms of what we can feed back to the University of Montana, as well as what we can learn from each other,” said Laukes. “My vision is to try to really understand better what’s out there in greater detail at our university and understand what programs and resources are available at ITHS, so that I can help make that a real connection.”
Mahurin is the Manager of Special Projects in the Division of Health Sciences at Montana State University. Mahurin came to MSU 25 years ago, when she was hired to establish the Technology Transfer Office. During that time, she licensed hundreds of technologies in all fields. Her office helped facilitate the licensing and startup of more than 30 optical companies in the area. Prior to joining MSU, Mahurin worked for a Bozeman-based technology company where she developed a medical device and gained FDA approval. Mahurin also served as the Chair of the Montana Science and Technology Alliance for eight years, providing more than $23 million in funding for research and seed capital to state companies and universities.
“I am excited to partner MSU with ITHS and the many resources both at UW and within our sister WWAMI institutions,” Mahurin said. “We are very proud of our robust research activities and know that leveraging regional research will strengthen all institutions.”