The investigators propose the Rehabilitation Research Career Development Program (RRCD), a renewal of the current grant K12 HD055929, to train rehabilitation scientists who are occupational and physical therapists. The goal of the RRCD Program is to increase the number of rigorously trained, extramurally competitive, and scientifically competent rehabilitation scientists who will conduct translational investigations, lead clinical research teams, and eventually mentor the next generation of occupational and physical therapy investigators. The University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB), the University of Florida (UF) and the University of Southern California (USC) will function as a research consortium to achieve this goal. The consortium includes a cadre of senior rehabilitation investigators (Lead Mentors) who provide the K12 Scholars with the skills and knowledge necessary to become independent investigators and future leaders in rehabilitation science. The training program is comprised of two phases. Phase 1 (Years 1-3) is designed to provide the Scholars with the foundation needed for a productive career in interdisciplinary rehabilitation research. Scholars will conduct research at one of the consortium institutions under the supervision of a Lead Mentor and collaborate with members of an interdisciplinary research team in their area of research interest. Each Scholar will prepare an Individualized Career Development Plan based on their past training and recommendations from the Lead Mentor and research team. The plan will consist of structured didactic training involving research methodology, specialized courses and seminars, and mentored grant writing experiences. In Phase 1, Scholars will acquire research experience, generate, analyze, present and publish research data, and become equipped to compete for independent external funding (e.g., K01, R03, R21, or R01 grants). In Phase 2 (Years 4-5), Scholars will transition to independent researcher positions. Phase 2 Scholars will continue to devote 50-75% effort to research and remain associated with the Lead Mentor and members of the research team, but will no longer be supported from the K12 award. The mentor-based training model takes advantage of the excellent resources at the consortium institutions (e.g., active T32 training programs, NIH and NIDRR funded research centers, Clinical and Translational Science Awards). Eighty-eight percent of our Scholars who have transitioned to Phase 2 since 2007 have obtained individual external funding from the NIH or VA. This rate of funding success is substantially higher than has been reported for other mentored K-award programs.
The demand for clinical scientists in occupational and physical therapy trained to conduct translational and comparative effectiveness research has increased significantly over the past ten years. The goal of the RRCD Program is to increase the number of rigorously trained and scientifically competent investigators who will advance rehabilitation science and contribute to the knowledge need to support evidence-based rehabilitation practice. Candidates will be recruited nationally and trained at the University of Florida-Gainesville, the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, or the University of Southern California.
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