Why have there.not been more successes in translating exciting scientific discoveries into improved patient care and community health (1,2)? Possible explanations include a shortage and high turnover rate of clinicianinvestigators due to insufficient institutional and environmental support (3);reluctance to let go of the traditional department-centric research and training models;a lack of effectiveness in educating PhD scientists about the physiology and pathophysiology of human health and disease (4);and a gap in providing clinical and bench scientists with the tools needed to be successful in the current research environment, including working in interdisciplinary teams. In this section we propose solutions to these possible barriers and provide an implementation plan that is achievable and can be evaluated. ? The overall goal of this key component of our CTSA application is to create the next generation of clinical researchers representing multiple disciplines who will be boundary spanners, able to pollinate new ideas and link laboratories and investigators in different disciplines. Northwestern University has fostered interdisciplinary research for several decades. It has provided incentives Including faculty positions and research funding to break the lines and barriers separating disciplines, and merged discipline-based graduate training programs in the life sciences and engineering into 4 integrated programs that span campus locations. We propose building on an already successful program of interdisciplinary research education, training and career development by establishing the Center for Clinical Research Education (CCRE). The Center will coordinate and enhance existing clinical and translational research education, training and career development activities;create new courses, seminars and programs and integrate them with existing activities;expand the candidate pool for our programs by including predoctoral trainees and basic scientists;educate/train the candidates differently than in the past using an expanded set of course offerings and seminars and established interdisciplinary, teams, and nurture the trainees using carefully chosen mentors and new oversight procedures including standardized tracking tools. The Center will also provide new opportunities for clinical research and regulatory staff and community investigators. The Center and its key programs will be led by a dynamic and experienced leadership team.
The specific aims are to:
Aim 1 : Establish the Center for Clinical Research Education, and make it the home for clinical and translational research education, training and career development at Northwestern;
Aim 2 : Enhance the current Master of Science in Clinical Investigation (MSCI) and other degree and certificate programs;
Aim 3 : Develop a new Multidisciplinary Clinical and Translational Science Scholars (K12) Program focusing on the needs of postdoctoral fellows and junior faculty members;
Aim 4 : Develop a new predoctoral (T32) training program leading to a PhD in Clinical and Translational Science or MD/PhD with the PhD in Clinical and Translational Science;
Aim 5 : Create new clinical and translational research education and training programs for community-based clinical investigators, nurses, research staff and medical residents;
Aim 6 : Expand and enhance opportunities for the development of mentors;
Aim 7 : Evaluate the performance of the Center and its programs in creating the next generation of clinical and translational investigators. At the end of the period of support, the CTSA will have enabled the NUCATS Institute to develop a more comprehensive set of training programs than are currently available, to provide new opportunities in clinical and translational research for a broader range of students, trainees and faculty, and to begin to measure the results and use them to produce change.