This 5-year conference plan will establish the Northeast Regional Scientific Training &Program Development Conference. This regional conference will be used to catalyze transformative and long-term changes in scientific training program development and practices that begin at the early undergraduate level through to the advanced graduate level. It will capitalize and build on the recent formation of the Training, Workforce Development and Diversity (TWD) Division in NIGMS that has brought together the former MORE Division and current T32 training programs. These programs have historically worked independently of each other and through this conference we will unite them in order to foster greater interactions and relationship-building between PDs &trainees. This conference will include program directors (PDs) and trainees of undergraduate RISE and IMSD programs, of PREP programs, of graduate IMSD and T32 programs and IRACDA from 5- different academic institutions in the northeast U.S. As each of these programs represents a program that operates at a different point on the same training scale, their collective involvement in this conference represents a critical vertical integration of process and practice. It will support a) increased programmatic cross-talk than occurs at national venues and b) will support the development and subsequent dissemination of resulting best practices to the national TWD community and beyond. These new inter-institutional relationships will further help to prevent formation of 'training vacuums'that can isolate individual programs. The conference will host trainee research presentations, and establish cross-program and cross-institutional mentoring relationships that assist trainees in making more informed career choices. For faculty, the conference will promote and support open discussions and exchanges of best training practices and define the challenges to be addressed as trainees transition from one training stage to another. With an attendance number of 60 -70, the conference will offer an intimate retreat setting that cultivates rich interactions among attendees.
The specific aims are to: 1) Establish a regional inter-institutional retreat and networking venue to optimize interactions between i) program directors, ii) program directors &trainees and iii) trainees at various career stages which will lead to stronger and more longitudinal, networks and collaborative links that support successful training trajectories. These interactions will support and inform faculty training practices from the undergraduate level through to the graduate level that will ultimately translate into broader institutional impact at the participating institutions. And 2) Establish a regional forum to develop and annually evaluate best training practices that will be shared with the national TWD community and larger scientific community and establish a pattern of assessment whose lasting benefits will be to a) ensure trainees transition seamlessly from one career training stage and environment to another, b) replenish the pool of well-trained scientists and scholars, c) meet our national need for sustaining a globally competitive scientific workforce and c) support the diversity efforts and mission of TWD.
The public health and research relevance of this program is its potential to strengthen and increase the US scientific labor force needed to maintain global competitiveness and productivity. It establishes new training networks and informs training practices that will help to advance public health &research. It also establishes longitudinal relationships which will ensure regular replenishment of our biomedical workforce.