This is a competitive renewal application for continued support under new leadership, for the Reproductive Scientist Development Program (RSDP), a multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional research career development program for obstetrician-gynecologists in cell and molecular biology and related fundamental sciences. The objective of this program is to educate obstetrician-gynecologists in contemporary basic science research related to reproductive medicine and biology in order to prepare them for research careers in academic medicine. The overall goal is to help ensure that academic obstetrics and gynecology fulfills its mission to increase research and discovery in the reproductive sciences. Outstanding MD/PhD, PhD, and MD scientists with broad research experience serve as faculty mentors. A unique feature of this program is that outstanding individuals, upon completing a residency in obstetrics and gynecology, and in many cases two or three years of clinical subspecialty fellowship, spend two to three years (Phase I) in fundamental science research laboratories under the supervision and mentorship of experienced, highly regarded accomplished scientists. During Phase I, Scholars are dedicated to full-time research with no clinical obligations. Following this experience, Scholars spend an additional three-year period establishing their research program in a Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology (Phase II). Here, the Scholar serves as a junior faculty member with at least 75% time devoted to developing an independent research career. Historically, Phase I has been entirely funded by NICHD and Phase II has been funded from a number of possible sources, including NIH an private grants, and from contributions to the RSDP program from the obstetrics and gynecologic societies, from philanthropic foundation, industry, departmental, and other sources. This funding mechanism will continue, however, NIH funding will support up to 3 Scholars for the duration of Phase I and Phase II. Upon completion of this program, the Scholar is expected to continue to pursue a career as a productive physician-scientist investigator. This program serves as a model to education increased numbers of reproductive scientists to develop into leaders in academic Departments of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and this is now occurring.
The Reproductive Scientist Development Program plan for career development serves as a model for postgraduate medical education, and assures that some of the most promising young physician-investigators in the country will remain in academic investigative obstetrics and gynecology. A great majority of the Scholars who have finished Phase II of the Program have dedicated themselves to research in the reproductive sciences and have developed major independent funding support. To date their productivity has been outstanding, has contributed greatly to the reproductive sciences, and is a credit for the Program.
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