UND, NDSU, the University of South Dakota and a consortium of hospitals in the Dakotas have received a $20.3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health.
The grant is to help counter high rates of certain cancers in this region. It is a 5-year grant.
UND medical school associate dean Marc Basson is the principal investigator for the grant. He said it was important to have the hospitals be a part of this – because there often is a gap between research and how it translates to patient care.
"NIH talks about this thing called a 'Bench to Bedside Chasm,'" Basson said in an interview. "It starts at the lab bench, then falls into this chasm, and never makes it to the bedside."
Basson said the second phase of the grant work is what he's dubbing the "Implementation Phase."
"We know what we need to do, now how do we implement it," Basson said. "I'm a practicing physician -- it's important to me that my patients see the benefit of things we do in the lab. But it's really hard to do that."
Basson said he sees this opportunity as a “culture change.”
"Similar projects NIH has funded are a 'Hub and Spoke' model," Basson said. "The University, up on the hill, with a number of other folks out there in the outfield. But we were talking about 'team science' from the very beginning, and we were inspired to reject that model."
Basson said instead of "Hub and Spoke," a network is being built.
"That's the way we will best deal with the region," Basson said.
Basson said he hopes that even after the grant expires, bridges will be built, and collaborations will continue.