Life Course Visual Toolkit Development
Per the Guidance for CTSA Program Groups document, all hubs are allowed one voting member on each Enterprise Committee (EC). All EC Full Membership calls are open and anyone within the consortium can attend.
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To increase knowledge about life course research methods and innovative approaches by providing content that is widely available and accessible to researchers across multiple disciplines.
The Life Course Writing Group, co-led by Heidi Hanson and Shari Barkin, has prepared a draft manuscript that will be submitted to The Journal of Clinical and Translational Science Special Issue on Data Science in Clinical and Translational Research. In this manuscript, we call for new methodological approaches that take advantage of a priori knowledge, large multisource datasets, and computer simulations, which have not traditionally been used in epidemiology, to further explore complex interrelated factors and generate hypotheses that can be tested using traditional methods. We offer recommendations to build the necessary databases (process recommendations) that would then allow for application of complexity science to generate and test new hypotheses (application recommendations). The process recommendations include: 1) Creating systematic processes for longitudinal integration of datasets across the lifespan representing multiple levels of exposures from physiologic to sociologic; 2) Utilizing data science core resources to prepare and package integrated datasets to make them accessible for researchers to generate and test new hypotheses; and 3) Developing and validating ways to model high dimensional data. The application recommendations include: 4) Promoting and applying existing methods that fit a complexity science methodological framework; and 5) Developing analytical methods that can capture the multiple dimensions of time (timing, dose, and duration).
We would like to design six webinars as the foundation to a visual life course research toolkit that would introduce investigators to conducting life course research with complexity science. These webinars would provide concrete examples of work by thought leaders relevant to each of the five recommended domains. Webinars will be available on a publicly available platform so that the knowledge can be widely disseminated. We believe the toolkit can be used by investigators on their own time, but may also be useful content for the classroom and career learning objectives. Invited speakers will be directed to provide an overview of tools, measures, and methods for life course research that can be used across institutions. Content for the webinars will be interdisciplinary and focus on innovative ways for conducting life course research.
Speakers will be selected by the WG members, with priority placed on influence in the field, innovative methods, and relevance to each of the proposed topics. Each webinar will consist of three short presentations that will showcase well-informed ideas and processes that fall under the specific domain. We will highlight existing methods and cutting-edge new approaches.
Depending on available funding, we could also create additional shorter segments in a TED-like style allowing for more digestible tools to be viewed. These could be uploaded to CTSI websites to expand reach and use of the information.