The purpose of the Child Health Research Career Development Award (CHRCDA) program at the Children's National Health System/Children's Research Institute is to facilitate the development of successful basic science and translational research careers for junior faculty members in pediatrics. The rationale for this program is based on the observation that while many opportunities currently exist to use molecular biology to advance treatment of pediatric diseases, the complex and comprehensive scientific knowledge and practical laboratory experience that are required to capitalize on these opportunities are often deficient among young investigators. Specifically, extended bench experience is typically lacking in the traditional career development of academic pediatricians who have recently completed their clinical training. The CHRCDA addresses this need by providing sufficient protected time for pediatrician-investigators during their initial academic appointment to: 1) take coursework in basic science areas relevant to their research; 2) learn state-of-the art laboratory methodology; 3) develop preliminary data under the supervision of established investigators/mentors that will lead to submission of independent NIH grant applications; and 4) learn to effectively translate accomplishments in pediatric basic and translational research into improvements in child health. In order to accomplish these goals, the CHRCDA Scholars will spend at least 75% effort honing these skills under the mentorship of established investigators/mentors over a 2-4 year period (depending on past experience and area of investigation). During this period, each of the above tasks will be addressed in a systematic fashion, including participation in a core curriculum in research methodology and biostatistics and performance of increasingly independent research in the laboratory of investigators/mentors. We propose for consideration 20 mentors in 4 affinity areas: neuroscience, genetics, immunology, and cell biology. The administrative structure of the CHRCDA includes two Principal Investigators/Program Directors, a Training Director, a Recruiting Officer, a Program Administrator and an Advisory Committee. We propose to select and train a total of 8 CHRCDA scholars at the Assistant Professor level during the award period with a specific goal of enhancing Scholar diversity through aggressive outreach and recruitment. The outcome of this program will be measured by the products of the Scholars' subsequent academic careers: external grant support, publications, and other contributions to basic and applied research in child health.
The Child Health Research Center Development Award (CHRCDA) Program at CNHS will train the next generation of pediatrician-scientists who will perform cutting edge basic and applied research on issues of importance to child health and development. While there are many opportunities to use molecular biology to advance treatment of pediatric diseases, the technology is complex, labor intensive and requires a comprehensive understanding of current scientific advances. Because the necessary extended bench experience is often lacking in the traditional career development of most academic pediatricians who have recently completed clinical training, the CHRCDA provides 2-4 years of training and practical experience under the direction of experienced investigator-mentors.
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