The overall objective of the Midwest Regional Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine Fellowship Conference is to improve the recruitment and retention of trainees in neonatal-perinatal medicine and perinatal epidemiology to careers as physician-scientists. In order to achieve the public health goals of the National Institutes of Health for pregnant women and the newborn, it is essential for training programs to continue to train physician-scientists who can perform the basic, translational, and clinical research necessary to meet these goals.
The aims of this conference are to: 1) create a better understanding of the physician-scientist career pathway among neonatal-perinatal medicine trainees, 2) identify factors important in career choice among neonatal-perinatal medicine trainees, and 3) facilitate inter-institutional research collaboration. In order to achieve these aims, one session of the conference is presentations by trainee-mentor dyads that discuss not only a specific research project but also specific issues related to becoming a physician- scientist they have encountered and their approaches to these issues. This may include issues such as identifying a mentor(s), selecting a project, making the transition from trainee to faculty, obtaining funding, and maintaining work-life balance. In addition to the presentations, a session is also included for an open discussion by faculty and trainees. Topics of this discussion may include: factors important in career choice for trainees, strategies for developing and maintaining successful research training programs, recruiting and selection of trainees, and increasing diversity among trainees. The goal is that through this open ended discussion training programs can develop strategies for 1) the recruitment of trainees who will pursue the physician-scientist career pathway, 2) the retention of fellows on the physician-scientist pathway through the course of their fellowship training, and 3) smooth the transition from trainee to junior faculty for individuals on the investigator track. Finally, the training programs associated with the conference have developed a trainee database that includes data on factors important in selecting a training program and factors important in career choice for fellows. The database will be used to identify factors that can be useful in recruitment and retention of trainees to the physician-scientist career pathway.
Research on the diseases of pregnancy and the newborn infant are important to insuring the health of pregnant women and their newborn infants. This conference is designed to help physicians-in-training become scientists who can perform the laboratory and clinical research critical to better understanding the health problems of pregnancy and the newborn.