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Translational Science

ASU’s College of Health Solutions is committed to improving health outcomes. One way we’re doing this is through translational science and our translational teams.

Translational science aims to improve health by taking ideas and discoveries and turning them into new treatments or solutions more quickly for the people who need them most. The most pressing health challenges have multiple layers: medical, economic, family, environmental and societal concerns that impact us in different ways. When we tackle a new challenge, it is important to understand all of these concerns. By focusing on these different layers of the problem we are trying to solve, we take a wider view to find the best solutions. 

Translational science is different from traditional health research. From the beginning, we work directly with patients, community members and others most affected by the problems we are trying to solve. By including these different viewpoints and experts from the beginning, the translational approach is designed to work faster with real-time feedback from people who have a stake in the work we do. This makes our work faster and safer, with better outcomes for  people in the community. 

Translational Teams

Translational teams bring together researchers, clinical and community partners, industry innovators and students with different skills and perspectives. By bringing all kinds of people together, translational teams aim to better understand the different layers of the problem they are trying to solve from the beginning. This approach helps to ensure that our research will have a positive impact on the people who need it most. Our translational teams help us create practical, real world solutions to improve people’s daily lives in schools, workplaces, homes, hospitals, clinics and our communities overall.  

Community Partners

Communities drive the questions we need to ask, and for that reason community partners are active, important members of translational teams. Our teams include people from hospitals, health care and dental clinics, schools, nonprofits, businesses and industry, charitable and grassroots organizations. These partners provide insights into the health needs of our communities, and bring unique and valuable skills and knowledge to the process. 

We believe that community members are a vital source for new ideas and information about what challenges we should tackle next. Community members with ideas for new teams or partnerships are encouraged to contact us at CHSTranslationalTeams@asu.edu.

Student Opportunities

Students are also important members of translational teams. Students provide new perspectives, creativity, enthusiasm and help with team productivity. Both undergraduate and graduate students are encouraged to participate in translational teams in many different ways, including involvement in research, delivering programs, working in communities and more. Search for opportunities on the Community Placements Database.

Translational Teams at the College of Health Solutions

The following translational teams are working to improve health outcomes with better solutions: 

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder: Optimizing interventions, understanding co-occurring conditions and identifying biomarkers to optimize quality of life for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder, with a focus on underserved populations and vulnerable and aging adults. Team leads: Blair Braden bbbraden@asu.edu and Maria Dixon Maria.Dixon@asu.edu.
  • Cancer Prevention and Control: Developing collaborative research with communities to improve cancer detection, prevention and quality of life with a focus on underserved populations. Team leads: Dorothy Sears Dorothy.Sears@asu.edu and Linda Larkey Linda.Larkey@asu.edu.
  • Child Language and Literacy: Improving early literacy, language skills and health literacy in young children with disabilities or from low-income homes, and providing support to teachers working with these children in rural communities. Team lead: Shelley Gray Shelley.Gray@asu.edu
  • COVID-19: Addressing the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic through collaborative, translational research. Team leads: Brad Doebbeling Doebbeling@asu.edu, David Sklar David.Sklar@asu.edu and Matthew Scotch Matthew.Scotch@asu.edu.
  • Improving Outcomes for Children with Cleft Palate: Addressing communication, feeding and access to care for children with cleft palate, and training the next generation of health workers in this field. Team leads: Nancy Scherer Nancy.Scherer@asu.edu, Kelly Cordero Kelly.Cordero@dignityhealth.org.
  • Integrated Rehabilitative Solutions for People with Movement Disorders: Developing whole-person, whole-system solutions that integrate health care solutions to improve quality of life for people with movement disorders such as Parkinson’s Disease and Multiple Sclerosis. Team leads: Ayoub Daliri Ayoub.Daliri@asu.edu and Daniel Peterson Daniel.Peterson1@asu.edu.
  • Interdisciplinary Approaches to Problems of Substance Use: Developing multi-faceted, collaborative approaches that address issues of substance use in Arizona. Team leads: Raminta Daniulaityte Raminta.Daniulaityte@asu.edu, Adrienne Lindsey Adrienne.Lindsey@asu.edu and Ronald O’Donnell Ronald.ODonnell@asu.edu.
  • Maternal Child Health: Leveraging a community of practice to address early childhood, special needs, mother and baby behavioral health and special health conditions. Team leads: Meg Bruening Meg.Bruening@asu.edu and Cady Berkel Cady.Berkel@asu.edu.
  • Metabolic Health: Working to create new solutions for the growing epidemic of Type 2 diabetes and related metabolic disorders through solutions-oriented research. Team leads: Dorothy Sears Dorothy.Sears@asu.edu, Matthew Martin Matthew.Perry.Martin@asu.edu and Tannah Broman Tannah.Broman@asu.edu.
  • Safety Net Advancement Center: Improving the health care safety net across Arizona, particularly in rural areas, to ensure equity and access for underserved populations. Team lead: William Riley William.J.Riley@asu.edu.


Interested in getting involved or learning more? Contact us at CHSTranslationalTeams@asu.edu.