The 2020 COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on the clinical research enterprises at the 60 Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) Hubs throughout the nation. There was simultaneously a need to expand research to obtain crucial data about disease prognosis and therapy and enormous limitations on conducting research as localities and institutions limited travel and person-to-person contact. These imperatives resulted in major changes in the way research was conducted, including expediting Institutional Review Board review, shifting to remote interactions with participants, centralizing decision-making in prioritizing research protocols, establishing biobanks, adopting novel informatics platforms, and distributing study drugs in unconventional ways. National CTSA Steering Committee meetings provided an opportunity to share best practices and develop the idea of capturing the CTSA program experiences in a series of papers. Here we bring together the recommendations from those papers in a list of specific actions that research sites can take to strengthen operations and prepare for similar future public health emergencies. Most importantly, creative innovations developed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic deserve serious consideration for adoption as new standards, thus converting the painful trauma of the pandemic into "post-traumatic growth" that makes the clinical research enterprise stronger, more resilient, and more effective.