Values in Translation: How Asking the Right Questions Can Move Translational Science Toward Greater Health Impact

Maureen Kelley, Kelly Edwards, Helene Starks, Stephanie M. Fullerton, Rosalina James, Sara Goering, Suzanne Holland, Mary L. Disis, Wylie Burke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


The speed and effectiveness of current approaches to research translation are widely viewed as disappointing given small gains in real population health outcomes despite huge investments in basic and translational science. We identify critical value questions-ethical, social, economic, and cultural-that arise at moments throughout the research pathway. By making these questions visible, and promoting discussion of them with diverse stakeholders, we can facilitate handoffs along the translational pathway and increase uptake of effective interventions. Who is involved with those discussions will determine which research projects, populations, and methods get prioritized. We argue that some upfront investment in community and interdisciplinary engagement, shaped by familiar questions in ethics, social justice, and cultural knowledge, can save time and resources in the long run because interventions and strategies will be aimed in the right direction, that is, toward health improvements for all.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)445-451
Number of pages7
JournalClinical and Translational Science
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2012


  • Ethics and translational science
  • Multidisciplinary science
  • Priority-setting
  • Research ethics
  • Values and translational science

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)


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