What Distinguishes Our Academic Medical Enterprise:

Excellence in Core Research Areas: The GW academic medical enterprise is at the leading edge of high-impact medical and health sciences research and a leader in the translation of discoveries into clinical care and improved health equity. Our future prioritizes areas of strength which will drive growth and excellence in research – from discovery to implementation. 

Researcher using a pipette tool and wearing lab gear


Research is a foundational pillar of our academic medical enterprise and the GW University. We are a community of investigators, and our strategic plan supports our research mission. Our path forward will enhance the research workforce, grow multi-PI programs, expand enabling facilities, partner to recruit and sustain diverse faculty, staff, and students, and increase school-university collaborations. These endeavors place an emphasis on excellence to promote our mission, vision and core values as an institution.

Goal 4: Cross-Disciplinary Research

Promote innovative and impactful cross-disciplinary research programs.

Research activity and scholarship has grown significantly at SMHS and MFA in the last 7 years providing a base from which to imagine new opportunities. To fully achieve our goal to enhance the health of our communities and the nation, integrated programs that accelerate research growth and link discovery, clinical, community and education research will be implemented.  

Action 4.1

Continue growth in foundational science. Establish clinical and translational research excellence. Build community responsive studies. Enhance relationships with federal agencies and DC Health.

Metric(s): Increase the number of SMHS investigators by 10% over five years; establish sustainable centers, programs and departments; pursue/ renew major collaborative grants (DC-CFAR, CTSA, CCSG), relate research to DC Health needs.
Timeline: 2022-2026
  1. Achieved: SMHS has approximately 120 investigators among 4 basic, 4 health sciences and 14 clinical departments, with over $50 million in federal expenditures in FY 2024. 

  2. Achieved: New leadership with Cancer Center Director (2021), Heme/Onc Division Director (2023), Chair Anatomy/Cell Biol (2023), VCR anesthesiology (2023), Dir Cell Therapy Unit (2023); Ctr Population Hlth Sci Hlt Equity (2023); Chair Pharmacology and Physiology (2024); Office of Clinical Research (2022).

  3. Achieved: Cancer Center Data Visualizer with aggregated regional cancer indicators (2024); DC needs assessment reports (PHSHE 2023).

  4. Achieved: Searchable researcher database and funding alerts.
Action 4.2

Increase representational diversity and inclusion among staff, faculty, and student researchers. Recruit, welcome, and retain under-represented scholars. Develop pathway programs that support inclusion of marginalized and underrepresented groups with extramural support. 

Metric(s): Establish SMHS in the top quartile for diverse research workforce; enhance outcomes in research climate surveys.
Timeline: 2023-2026
  1. Completed: Continue pathway programs including Summer Program to Advance Research on Cancer (SPARC), Mentored Experience To Expand Opportunities in Research (METEOR); pre-college pathway programs.

  2. Completed: Establish Diversity Equity faculty committee 2022; Anti-Racism Coalition (ARC); equity leaders in each clinical dept.

  3. Achieved: submitted R25 NCI cancer health disparities summer program (2023). 

  4. Planned: AAMC Standpoint climate survey (2024).
Action 4.3

Increase the breadth of training and effective mentoring pathways. Partner with other GW schools and DC institutions for cross-institutional research programs. Establish financial mechanisms to effectively manage multi-school research training programs.

Metric(s): Increase extramurally funded research and training programs in areas of strength, develop new research program projects.  With Faculty Affairs, establish faculty mentoring programs in all departments for all assistant professors. Develop research leadership programs in Center for Faculty Education. Stimulate independent investigators with pilot funds.
Timeline: 2023-2026
  1. Achieved: NIH funded T32 programs in Cancer Biology; T32 HIV Persistence, T32 Primary Care; (application T32 Integrated Neuroscience 2024).

  2. Achieved: Established Tucker Fellows in Cancer; ACS-IRG pilot awards in Cancer.

  3. Achieved: Faculty mentoring committees for junior faculty in basic science departments.

  4. Planned: Develop research development resources in Center for Faculty Excellence (2024).

  5. Planned: Increase GW faculty appointments at DC-VA.
Action 4.4

Enhance medical student research opportunities and satisfaction. With Development, raise endowment funds to support additional medical student and resident research projects and conference attendance.

Metric(s): Increase medical student satisfaction with research access and support in ISA to over 80% satisfied, increase faculty who can serve as research mentors by 10%;  increase extramural support for medical student stipends by 25%.
Timeline: 2023-2026
  1. Achieved: Twenty WT Gill summer fellowships and 80-90 health services summer fellowships awarded every year; medical student and graduate student prizes.

  2. Achieved: school funding for MD student conference travel doubled (2023).

  3. Achieved: donor commitment for PhD students.

  4. Planned: With Office of Development, establish targeted endowments.


Goal 5: Prepare the 21st Century Research Workforce

Enhance career pathways for the future biomedical research workforce.

The success of our research enterprise reflects the quality of the research teams. A premier academic medical center requires a vibrant community of research faculty and staff, trained with competencies for the future that are appropriately rewarded and effectively supported. 

Action 5.1 

Develop researchers with skills to meet emerging needs and careers in medicine and health. Increase engagement with clinical trials, and diversify training programs for foundational, clinical, and translational research. Develop financial management to support research protected time.


Onboard investigators and research leaders in each clinical department; Double the number of NIH Career Development (K) grants with in 5 years, earn NIH T32 training grants in areas of strength.

Timeline: 2022-28
  1. Achieved: NIH T32 training grants in Cancer Biology, HIV Prevention, Primary Care.

  2. Achieved: monthly K special interest group; individual K application assistance.

  3. In Progress: Develop OCR faculty educational outreach; use dept. research liaisons to increase clinical trials (2024).

  4. Achieved: service biostatistics for all clinical research.

  5. In Progress: prioritize recruitment of research-oriented clinical faculty.
Action 5.2

Promote GW as the place to build your research career. Promote workforce policies and process for education and promotion of research faculty and staff, ensure access for research career pathways and retain excellence. Elevate workforce for national recognition and prizes. Sustain researchers with lifestyle and wellness programs. Ensure a safe research environment, free of harassment and bias.

Metric(s): Reduce faculty and staff attrition to below national average. Promote workforce policies and process for education and promotion of research faculty and staff, and monitor exit interviews. Ensure access for research career pathways and retain excellence. Maximize research employee satisfaction to above national average. Recognize researchers.
Timeline: 2022-26
  1. Achieved: Annual equity review for faculty in basic sciences.

  2. Planned: With Faculty Affairs, streamline GW faculty appointment process for MFA physicians (2024).

  3. Planned: Stimulate faculty and staff ACRP and other research training and certification (2025).

  4. Planned: Establish Clinical Research leadership programming in the Center for Faculty Excellence (2024).


Goal 6: Effective Institutional Structures and Shared Resources

Catalyze researchers' productivity through supportive administrative structures and shared resources.

An outstanding research environment is characterized by the availability of state of the art equipment for discovery as well as effective administrative processes. We will strive for timely personnel recruitment, contract negotiation and access to cutting-edge technology to remain a competitive research institution.

Action 6.1

Enhance and streamline essential processes and offices to support research including Human Resources, Information Technology, Grants and Contracts, Finance, Office of Clinical Research. Ensure timely research faculty and staff hiring. Reduce the time to initiation for industry sponsored clinical trials.

Metric(s): With HR, measure and reduce time for recruitment from ad to onboard; With OCR, track and report the time for clinical trial start up, and use of OnCore, Epic, Florence and other clinical research tools.  Collaborate with support services to develop research-oriented responses. sIRB. Meet with Development.
Timeline: 2022-28
  1. Achieved: Established Office of Clinical Research (2022).

  2. In Progress: Work with University leadership to identify research champions for essential services.

  3. In Progress: HR roundtables to identify gaps in research hires (2024).

  4. In Progress: Work with OVPR to identify gaps and address OHR, IRB response.

  5. In Progress: Provide timely CE accreditation.
Action 6.2

Coordinate enabling cores to support researchers’ needs for cutting-edge tools and facilities led by experienced staff. Support clinical investigation with essential tools (OnCore, Epic Slicer/Dicer, biostatistics, etc.).  Ensure core oversight, A133 compliance and sustained funding.

Metric(s): Annual evaluation of use, needs and satisfaction; review process to acquire new equipment for needs; obtain partial extramural funding support; % costs on user grants.
Timeline: 2023-26
  1. Achieved: Established shared equipment user group (2022);New confocal microscope funded (2023). 

  2. In Progress: Enhance key core facilities and processes (i.e. ARC and IACUC; 2024).

  3. In Progress: Establish user review groups to monitor needs; develop common sign up and support.


Goal 7: Innovation in Research

Conduct innovative science, medicine and health science research and scholarship.

As an academic medical center, we have a unique opportunity to build innovative research and scholarship across a broad spectrum of health-related disciplines. National recognition for selected programs will enhance our overall research reputation.

Action 7.1

Focus on specific clinical areas to build reputation. Establish Vice Chairs for Research, research liaisons and scientific review committees. Engage with GW Centers of Excellence for integration. Increase individual scholarship. Expand educational scholarship to highlight success. With Ctr. Pop Hlth, Hlth Equity, use needs assessments and CABs to identify community research interests.


Increase NIH awards and funded investigators by 10%; increase active interventional clinical trialists by 10%; increase total number of clinical trials by 20%. Increase use and satisfaction with Center for Faculty Excellence programs, faculty prizes, alternative metrics that identify team science, impact on health.

Timeline: 2023-28
  1. Achieved: There are over 100 active interventional trials, led by over 50 different investigators (2024).

  2. Achieved: Associate Dean for Evaluation appointed (2021).

  3. Achieved: Top-citation analysis identified key areas of faculty research strength (2024).

  4. In progress: Provide pilot /innovation funds in key areas.

  5. In progress: Enhance community-responsive research.
Action 7.2

Promote our reputation through effective communication, marketing and development programs that engage faculty, students, and staff. Showcase research to the community and potential donors. Build internal communications (i.e., market share, rankings, registries) as well as external communications (increase patient visits, program applications, donors, etc.)

Metric(s): Continue SMHS Research Showcase, provide annual research report, update number and placement of research reputational communications, increase development interactions to enhance research.
Timeline: 2023-26
  1. Achieved: Dedicated SMHS communications officer (2024).

  2. Planned: Bicentennial lecture series, events (2024).