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National Cancer Institute

Implementing Team Science to Promote Transdisciplinary Research in NIH's ECHO Program

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Park C, Monk C, Patrick-Lake B, Gillman M. Implementing Team Science to Promote Transdisciplinary Research in NIH's ECHO Program. Oral presentation at 2017 SciTS Conference. Clearwater Beach, Florida. Jun 13, 2017. Day 2 Paper 1: Multi-Site Health Research Collaborations Online at:

The National Institutes of Health launched the Environmental influences on Child Health Outcomes (ECHO) program in 2016, to enhance the health of our nation’s children. It supports multiple longitudinal studies of children as well as 17 clinical sites for intervention studies among rural and underserved children. Its goal includes instituting best practices for team science to promote transdisciplinary research. We began evaluating a team science approach at ECHO’s first two in-person meetings involving >100 members. At these meetings, we administered the same brief questionnaire on: networking opportunities, communication, common language, collaboration facilitation, and engagement. Together these serve as a baseline for subsequent intervention and evaluation. During the second meeting, an NIH expert presented principles of team science. We then had a team exercise involving 11 teams to address: 1) what do you see as the most challenging task for ECHO?; 2) how can team science tackle this challenging task?; and 3) what novel ideas can ECHO pilot to successfully complete this task? We summarized the results into 5 areas: vision sharing, setting expectations, collaboration facilitation, communication, and other. The results reinforced the need for ECHO to clarify processes where possible and to be transparent about complexities that require further investigator leadership. Concrete actions resulting were a glossary to clarify potentially confusing terms, FAQ documents, educational webinars, and a small investigator-led group to address informed consent needs of cohorts before the data collection protocol is completed. Ideas for pilots included: virtual town halls for those not in attendance of inperson meetings, and storyboards on cohorts/science displayed at in-person meetings. The meeting evaluation showed that 77% of respondents agreed that the team exercise produced concrete ideas to enhance transdisciplinary science, suggesting that we can continue to benefit from implementing team science approaches and ongoing evaluation of them to improve the ECHO program.



Type of Publication:

Oral presentation


SciTS 2017 Conference, Science of Team Science, ECHO

Addresses these goal(s):

  • Conduct research on/evaluate team science

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Resource created by Jane Hwang on 10/2/2017 5:55:19 PM.

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