History of the TRIPP Center

The Ethel Donaghue Center for Translation Research into Practice and Policy (TRIPP): 2006-2015

Made possible through a grant from the Patrick and Catherine Weldon Donaghue Medical Research Foundation

In 2006 an infrastructure grant of $1,914,762 was awarded from the Donaghue Foundation, to develop and name a new, Type II, health policy center with a blended service-center model to foster and focus on translating research into practice and policy at UConn Health (Ethel Donaghue Center for Translating Research into Practice and Policy (TRIPP). Type II Centers at UConn Health are a resource to multiple departments and units and report directly to the dean of the medical school. The TRIPP Center development resulted from a year-long planning effort with both the leadership of the Donaghue Foundation as well as an interdisciplinary team from across the University. Planning resulted in a center that would be both focused on practical benefit research beyond the walls of the University and would be directly responsive to the NIH Roadmap with its new focus on translational research. At the time, UConn Health had an NIH-funded General Clinical Research Center (GCRC) and a Clinical Trials Unit (CTU) to foster clinical research and the translation of research from bench to bedside (T1). However, there was no parallel structure to support the increasingly important T2 research to be carried out independently, in collaboration with the T1 infrastructure, or in collaboration with the community and region.

Under the direction of Dr. Judith Fifield, TRIPP has taken the lead on strategic planning, development and/or funding of major University initiatives such as successive attempts to obtain a Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA), operationalizing the CT Institute for Clinical and Translational Science (CICATS); the Bioscience Connecticut legislatively mandated Health Disparities Institute (HDI) and the University-Medicaid (DSS) Partnership. Each initiative has been designed with the sustainability of TRIPP-the-center, and TRIPP-the-approach, in mind to ensure the institutionalization of the TRIPP approach (e.g., planning grants, scientific advisory committee, seminar series, pre- and post-award support). The TRIPP blended service center model (TRIPP-led T2 research as well as TRIPP-supported research and services) has resulted in obtaining $18,073,314 in external funds since the TRIPP Center was founded in 2005 (through 2014). As planned, a substantial amount of funds were awarded elsewhere to TRIPP partners ($11,528,767 funded elsewhere) and a substantial amount came directly to TRIPP ($6,544,547 funded to TRIPP). In addition, there has been a steady growth in the numbers of projects funded as TRIPP-led or TRIPP-supported across the T2 translational continuum. It is also important to note the depth of research in two areas in particular-health disparities related research and healthcare practice research, both highly mission relevant.


The Ethel Donaghue Center for Translating Research into Practice and Policy will position the University to be a leader in Practice Oriented Translational Research with a focus on health disparities.


Closing the gap between health-related research and practice by developing, testing, disseminating, and evaluating innovative models of care.

TRIPP infrastructure features included:

  • Center Affiliates
  • Pilot and Planning Grant Program
  • Interactive Seminars/Workshops/Think Tank
  • Visiting Scholars
  • Boundary Spanner who serves to catalyze and foster extensive communication and cross-fertilization of ideas among all parties, is not only a broker of collaborative activities, but also a leader in changing mind-sets, both among traditional researchers and community-based partners.
  • Collaborative CBPR-Community Based Participatory Research
  • Specialized pre- and post-award services including the ability for investigators to purchase TRIPP research staff time to fit the needs of their work:
    • Study design, research development, analytic consultation
    • Development of research questions and study design, including protocols for multi-site community-based research
    • Guidance on funding sources, grant preparation, and grant writing, peer-review by a Scientific Advisory Committee
    • Budget preparation and management
    • Research mentoring for translational and community based participatory research and Community engagement
    • Preliminary data analysis and referral for statistical design and analysis
    • Quantitative study design issues, data collection, management, and analysis
    • Database creation, management and technical assistance
    • Survey development and database management
    • Qualitative study design, data collection, management, and analysis
    • Project management consultation, including planning and tracking, and office staffing and management
    • Community-based study implementation, recruitment and retention
    • Regulatory compliance support related to community based research