Breaking Down Silos at LSU Health Shreveport

The Cayuse Platform increases collaboration between departments and helps manage a 365% increase in grant awards


LSU Health Shreveport is an academic medical center comprised of three different professional schools: the School of Medicine, the School of Graduate Studies, and the School of Allied Health Professions. With commitments to active research, patient care, and training the next generation of healthcare professionals through 43 fully accredited residency and fellowship programs, LSUHS provides invaluable services to the region and medical community.

As with many institutions, LSUHS has seen tremendous growth in recent years but needed a more robust system to support its research expansion. According to Valarie White, Director of Sponsored Programs and Technology Transfer at LSUHS, “In the past five years, our grant awards have increased over 365%, but we’ve been doing things the same way with the same resources, and it’s just not efficient.”

The university encountered several challenges when attempting to manage its growth using the manual, paper-based systems already in place, including staff turnover, time-intensive data requests, and increased compliance issues related to audits of time and effort, cost sharing, certification, and NIH partnership reporting.

“It was precarious, at best,” recalled Karen Watson, a Project Manager for the Research Data Team. “The data was not normalized, and they weren’t collecting a huge amount of it, just because it was so manual to put it in.”

“Everything was basically a manual paper
system with spreadsheets; we could never keep track of the right version, who was updating what, and who was doing what.

Valarie White Director, Sponsored Programs & Technology Transfer


LSUHS began transitioning from a manual, paper-based system to a modern electronic research administration system by implementing Cayuse Sponsored Projects and Proposals.

As with any major organizational change, staff were initially concerned about the implementation’s potential disruption to day-to-day operations. “I had doubts at first,” Valarie White admitted. “I didn’t know how we were going to do our job and do this implementation. There weren’t a lot of people, and there were high expectations from the administration that Cayuse was going to be implemented and solve all the problems that we had in this institution.”

Fortunately, Cayuse’s implementation process allayed these concerns. Of the implementation team, Valarie noted that, “it does make a difference that they really understand sponsored research administration. It makes a big difference that we can all speak the same language, and they can understand the challenges that we encounter in the field.”

According to Karen Watson, faculty quickly adapted to the platform and discovered numerous benefits over the previous, manual system. “One wonderful thing about Cayuse is that even though we’re still pretty new to it, we’re getting positive feedback from the PIs. They’ve actually loved it, and it’s made their life so much easier from their perspective.”

With faculty impressed by Cayuse’s swift implementation, ease of use, and centralized platform, LSUHS added Cayuse’s Fund Manager and Project Effort Post-Award solutions. “The business managers are so ready and excited about it,” Karen said of the Post-Award implementation. “From that perspective, Cayuse is doing wonderful supporting us, and of course, it’s a great product.”

“Having implementation people from Cayuse that actually worked in the
field was valuable. To me, that’s how you support an implementation.”

Karen Watson Project Manager, Research Data Team


Since replacing their manual systems with the Cayuse Platform, faculty and administrators at LSUHS have seen notable improvements in transparency, accountability, organization, grant submissions, and collaboration between departments.

Thanks to Cayuse’s personalized dashboards and centralized platform, PIs and administrators now have visibility into the status of submissions at any time, increasing accountability and decreasing administrative delays. “We can tell the status of where things are, where the bottlenecks are, and what has or has not been done in that system,” Valarie White noted, adding that PIs no longer need to wait for prompts from business managers to find the information they need. “That has helped us to better organize our workflow because
we can better manage our deadlines.”

With the ability to document standard operating procedures in a centralized platform with Cayuse, onboarding new faculty is easier than ever. Thanks to Cayuse, “the new faculty who come in are so eager to submit grants,” Valarie reported. “We’ve had some who’ve come in who have worked at schools that use Cayuse, so they’re already familiar.”

The Cayuse Platform even spurred a larger change in the organizational culture at LSUHS, breaking down department silos and increasing enthusiasm among researchers submitting grants. “I didn’t expect the collaboration from other departments,” Valarie recalled. “It has really helped them to see that we can work together. We do things that overlap, but we had not been able to get past some of the walls that separate us.”

“Cayuse has really changed our organizational culture — the culture of sharing information and transparency of information. It has helped to break down silos between departments and increased collaboration across departments.”

Valarie White Director, Sponsored Programs & Technology Transfer

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