This """"""""Harvard Blood Scholars"""""""" Career Development Award application is aimed as a renewal of the K12 Career Development Program in non-malignant hematology and transfusion medicine among a consortium of hematology training programs at Harvard Medical School-affiliated hospitals. The key rationale for this program is the need to reverse a long-term trend of graduates of hematology/oncology fellowship programs away from benign hematology practice and research. The first cycle of the program began in 2006. Six scholars, from three of the member hospital programs, matriculated in the first five years of NHLBI support, in diverse areas of hematology as defined for the program, to include myeloproliferative disorders and myelodysplastic syndrome, cell therapy (including gene therapy) and transfusion medicine, and traditional disciplines of non-malignant hematology including thrombosis and hemostasis, coagulation, anemias, marrow failure, disorders of neutrophils, iron-related diseases, and health-services research relating to these disorders. The program director, Dr. Ellis Neufeld, is a pediatric hematologist and geneticist involved in clinica trials of ITP, iron overload, and bleeding disorders, as well as lab-based genetic studies of inherited blood disorders. An advisory committee representing the institutions and broad variety of research interests serves as admissions committee and oversees the activities of the program. The prime candidate pool for K12 Blood Scholars includes pediatric and adult hematology, hematology/oncology and transfusion medicine fellows and instructors not only from the several training programs of our constituent hospitals, but also from junior physician-scientists of similar rank and interests from around the country. Most scholars will pursue two year career development programs. A third year of support may be available in some cases. Key components of the program include (a) formal training in methodology for patient oriented research, exemplified by the Harvard Medical Area's three Masters programs in Clinical Sciences, Clinical Effectiveness or Epidemiology, and Translational Research, and a mentored research project. A Blood Scholars Colloquium Series meets monthly, providing the entire Harvard Hematology community with cutting-edge research talks on patient- oriented studies in the disciplines of the grant. Each scholar develops with his/her mentors and the Advisory Committee an Individualized Curriculum Plan that takes into account the training level, background, and needs of the scholar for optimum career development. The key short-term metrics of the program are the demographics of the applicant and matriculating scholars, and the fraction of graduates who (a) apply for, and (b) receive advanced training grants in hematologic research particularly K23 or K08 grants. In the long run, the career choices and academic success of the graduates will be of paramount importance.
Hundreds of unique diseases affect the blood;non-malignant hematology is the field of study of these disorders, excluding only the leukemias, or blood cancers. Although remarkable progress in hematology has fueled (and been fueled by) many of the key discoveries in modern medicine, the field is at risk from insufficient numbers of talented young physician scientists choosing to focus on blood disease. By providing expert training in research methods, and by convening an outstanding faculty of hematologists from across the several Harvard hospitals, this K12 Blood Scholars grant aims to launch the careers of the hematologist physician-scientists of the future.
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