Scientific Working Groups
Two Scientific Working Groups cut across our Cores to build new infrastructure and start cross-disciplinary collaborations. The HIV Disparities SWG and the Global HIV SWG are each building new programs to research racial/resource disparities.
The Vanderbilt Meharry CFAR has emphasized Scientific Working Groups (SWG) for growth in collaborative scientific productivity since 2003.
CFAR leadership knew that teamwork was critical in order to achieve our top priority aim in 2003: to begin to validate and then use data from the Comprehensive Care Center’s (CCC) electronic medical record (EMR)-related database. This required people from different disciplines to work toward a common goal, and appreciate problems and solutions outside their own knowledge base. A general team approach evolved: SWOT analysis to understand the current situation, brainstorming a sequential research agenda to reach a long-term goal, and working on prioritized specific aims while simultaneously implementing the infrastructure needed for the entire long-term research agenda. This is the process that all our Scientific Working Groups now follow.
The Scientific Working Groups are intended to be short-lived and to evolve. One example from our most recent strategic planning efforts is that our recent Informatics Scientific Working Group accomplished its goals, and its functions were moved into the Administrative Core (AC). Over about 2 years, the Informatics SWG transitioned the former CCC EMR-derived databases into Vanderbilt systems, renewed the CCASAnet grant, and greatly helped develop the new award to Vanderbilt of the International Epidemiologic Databases to Evaluate AIDS (IeDEA) Network Coordinating Center. A new VU core service (Office of Research Informatics) includes the same personnel who worked on the Informatics Working Group and will continue working with CFAR on clearly defined, already-underway, Core-centered tasks. This transition from CFAR-specific to university-supported medical informatics support is an excellent example of our time-limited, goal-driven SWG process, and it leveraged other resources to support CFAR.
Current working groups:
HIV Disparities Scientific Working Group
Global HIV Scientific Working Group