Program Evaluation


The Institute for Clinical and Translational Science Evaluation Core supports clinical and translational science regionally and nationally through programmatic evaluation and routine data capture that support strategic management.

The ICTS Evaluation philosophy is rooted in well established evaluation models such as the Centers for Disease Control Evaluation Model along with contemporary Participatory, Developmental, and Utilization-Focused program evaluation paradigms. We marry these paradigms with the popular Plan, Do, Study, Act (PDSA) model to create an integrated framework for evaluation and Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI).

Use of Plan, Do, Study, Act Model for CQI

Plan, Do, Study, Act diagram

Evaluation efforts are supported by the program evaluation, and other key ICTS personnel, including module directors, project managers, and the External Advisory Committee.


Our evaluation initiatives are moving from short-term internal performance improvements to data-driven sustained, organization-wide improvements to speed delivery of discovery into practice. ICTS provides services and support to catalyze innovative clinical and translational science that leads to measurable improvements in the health of Iowans and the nation. Selected key accomplishments are highlighted below:

The Enrollment and Characteristics of Clincal Trials (ECCT) Dashboard

Clinical Trial Recruitment Map

Tracking enrollments in CRU interventional clinical trials has allowed us the opportunity to visualize state demographics overlayed with our successful enrollments into trials. This ECCT dashboard incorporates race/ethnicity/rural-urban codes, age and can be customized for specific data trends.

The ICTS Pilot Grant Program for Clinical and Translational Studies (PILOTS)

hourglass with grant information

Since 2007 ICTS pilot awardees have received $141 million dollars in external funding demonstrating that recipients of our pilot awards have gone on to direct highly successful CTR programs. Moreover, our PILOTS program awardees have been tremendously successful leading to >3100 publications and >76,000 citations from 2008-2020.

The Research Unit Network (RUN)

RUN was created with the purpose to enable direct communication and collaboration among clinical and translational research units (CTRU). The intermediate goal of RUN is to identify best practices CTRUs are establishing, implementing, and following with the goal of sharing these experiences and try to adopt them in different CTRUs. The network’s long-term goal is to establish standard benchmarks that can be used for evaluating the performance of an individual CTRU as well as comparing the performance of units around the nation.

ACTS Poster Draft

(click to enlarge image)

Current Projects

Learn more about the current projects the program evaluation and our evaluation teams participation in the common metrics initiative.

program evaluation chart

Publications & Presentations

Subramain M, O’Quinn DA, Davis H. 4124 An innovative Tool for Completing the Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR) using REDCap. Journal of Clinical and Translational Science. 2020;4(s1):69-70. doi:10.1017/cts.2020.229

Subramain M, Wangui-Verry JM, Sprenger KJ, Comellas AP, Barlow PB. Impact of COVID-19 on Clinical Research Units (CRUs). J Clin Transl Sci. 2021;5(1):e167. Epub 20210813. doi: 10.1017/cts.2021.836. PubMed PMID: 34659802; PMCID: PMC8503072.

Subramain M, Wangui-Verry JM, Sprenger KJ, Ball C, Goins JL, Barlow PB, Comellas AP. 519 The Research Unit Network (RUN) as a Learning Research System. Journal of Clinical and Translational Science. 2022;6(s1):107. doi:

Smith TL, Barlow PB, Peters JM, Skolits GJ. Demystifying reflective practice: Using the DATA model to enhance evaluators' professional activities. Eval Program Plann. 2015;52:142-7. Epub 2015/05/22. doi: 10.1016/j.evalprogplan.2015.04.004. PubMed PMID: 26051793.

Barlow, P. B., et al. (2016). Using a Pilot Grant Program and Teamwork Training to Improve the Knowledge and Skills of Science Teams. SciTS. Phoenix, AZ.

Contact Information

Patrick Barlow, PhD



Help the Institute for Clinical and Translational Science at the University of Iowa continue making new strides in medical research by citing the NIH CTSA program grant UL1TR002537.