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Let experienced mentors guide your research with the ITHS Scientific Success Committee

Let experienced mentors guide your research with the ITHS Scientific Success Committee

ITHS has a long history of helping researchers prepare for submitting a grant, creating a study or even helping to shape up research ideas that are in early stages. But sometimes researchers need a broader perspective on study design and implementation from experienced clinical investigators. That’s why we created the ITHS Scientific Success Committee.

The ITHS Scientific Success Committee (SSC) aims to provide a broad, holistic perspective on research design, identifying key issues that should be addressed to support funding and implementation of the proposed work.

How it works:

The ITHS SSC adapts the approach of Scientific Review Committees (SRCs) that assess study proposals and/or protocols for study design validity, analytical rigor, and operational feasibility. Typically, SRCs serve as a stopgate immediately before review by the institutional review board (IRB), but the ITHS SSC will provide feedback at other stages of project planning, from refining research questions to developing proposals and protocols.

  • Investigators will provide a short description of their proposed study along with key questions
  • Two committee members will provide written feedback, and the investigator will also have at least 25 minutes to discuss their study with the committee at their monthly meeting.
  • ITHS staff will provide a report with notes and recommendations after the meeting, along with introductions to relevant resources.
  • Consultation with the SSC is provided at no charge.


Although the focus and purpose of the program remains the same, the format has been adjusted so that the group can serve more investigators each year. The ITHS SSC will hold regularly scheduled monthly meetings, providing feedback on up to three projects each month.

The ITHS SSC will provide guidance at early stages of clinical research study design, including development of research questions, approach, outcome measures, feasibility, clinical appropriateness, and statistical planning. The committee consists of faculty whose research approaches range from retrospective cohort analyses to multi-site clinical trials across a myriad of scientific disciplines. The committee also includes representatives from ITHS Biomedical Statistics, Bioethics, and Community Engagement programs.

Who started this program?

Jodi Smith, MD, Seattle Children’s & Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Washington

Once there was a recognized need for this service, it was developed under the direction of the ITHS Participant and Clinical Interactions program, led by Jodi Smith, MD, MPH, ITHS Co-PI, Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Washington and an attending physician at Seattle Children’s.

When it launched in 2020, the hope was that it would help meet the needs of junior investigators who are seeking guidance at the early stage of study design. Says Dr. Smith:

We are fortunate to have so many experienced researchers available to help guide the SSC users in the pursuit of high quality research that will benefit our community.

Who can request a meeting with the ITHS SSC?

The ITHS SSC is available to investigators across Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, and Idaho for remote participation.

The program is open to researchers in academic, clinical, or related organizations proposing research that:

  • Includes collection and/or analysis of human biospecimens, data from human populations or communities, or experiments involving human research participants
  • Addresses a question related to human development, health, or disease

This committee primarily supports trainees, early stage investigators, and other investigators new to clinical and translational research. The program offers researchers an opportunity to get feedback that, for instance, will help them develop proposals for pilot funding, research grants, or individual fellowship or career development awards. We recommend meeting with the committee early in the proposal development process.

How do researchers request a meeting with the ITHS SSC?

We are now scheduling investigators for meetings with the committee. If you are seeking feedback for a grant proposal, we recommend submitting a request at least two months before your deadline. At this time, researchers should contact the ITHS Director of Research Development, Melissa Vaught (, to express interest.

Background on ITHS mentorship resources:

ITHS previously piloted a Clinical Trials Mentoring Program, an ad hoc committee assembled on a case-by-case basis. Users found the feedback valuable, but the format was difficult to scale. With the Scientific Success Committee, the process becomes more efficient and more effective for investigators and mentors.

How can I learn about other resources available to me within ITHS?

ITHS also offers clinical trials consulting through our Research Navigator and research support services such as the Research Coordination Core and the Recruitment Support Service.

For more information about the ITHS Scientific Success Committee, please visit the webpage.