The extraordinary growth and specialization that has occurred in the sciences has made it difficult to link the increasing divide between clinical and basic science components of ophthalmic and vision sciences. Translational research has suffered as a consequence. The Harvard Department of Ophthalmology is one of the largest academic departments of Ophthalmology in the nation. With over 130 full-time clinical and basic science faculty members, it makes significant contributions to ophthalmic and vision research in virtually all basic, applied, and clinical subspecialty areas. The Harvard Department of Ophthalmology K12 program offers a customized and structured learning, research, and development environment to a select and diverse group of highly-qualified, clinically-trained candidates who have recently completed (or are about to complete) their training, but who desire further mentored learning experience so as to become independent clinical scientists in their respective fields. Scholar candidates in this program will (i) complete a core curriculum that will include (a) the Harvard Program in Clinical Effectiveness - a summer-long immersion program in biostatistics and epidemiology, and study design, (b) Neurobiology 300 "Biologic Bases of Ophthalmic Disease", a multidisciplinary survey course focusing on the cellular and molecular mechanisms of eye disease, (c) training in Responsible Conduct of Research and Bioethics. and (d) participation in Grant Writing courses. Scholars will also (ii) perform research in a closely mentored program under the guidance of lead mentors who are leaders in their respective fields. Trainees in this program will additionally have the option of seeking an advanced degree (MS, MPH, PhD, ScD) at Harvard. This is a competitive renewal application for the Harvard Ophthalmology K12 program, which has been very successful to date in meeting its benchmarks of recruiting and training top-notch clinician-scientists in a mentored environment. Since 2005, the program has received 69 inquiries, from which 20 were invited to complete the formal application process. Of these 20 applicants, five (25%) were accepted into the program, including 3 women Scholars. Scholars in the program have been highly productive in research, have completed or enrolled in degree programs, and received national academic and research awards and grants. Three of the early entrants are applying for R01 grants in 2009. The progress of Scholars is reported by the Program Director twice annually to the Program Advisory Committee and annually to the External Advisory Committee, comprised of leading vision and ophthalmic scientists and educators in our nation.
Our aim i s to build on our progress to date, and continue our training program for an additional 5 years.
The goal of the Harvard-Vision Clinical Scientist Development Program is to provide an academically rich and supportive environment to enable qualified early-stage clinician-scientists to engage in a structured and mentored learning experience that will enable them to achieve career advancement and independence through a rigorous program of didactic courses, research, and other development activities.
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