In response to concerns about the decline in physician scientists, the relative lack of well- designed and well-executed clinical and epidemiological research in reproductive medicine, and a perception that current trainees in the Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility subspecialty of Obstetrics and Gynecology were opting out of research career paths, the Clinical Research/Reproductive Scientist Training Program (CREST) Program was established as a partnership among key components that comprised and facilitated the training program: the Deputy Director of the National Institute for Child Health and Human Development, the Program in Reproductive and Adult Endocrinology, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, and the Clinical Research Training Program at Duke University. Didactic training modules are designed to be online to accommodate clinicians. Weekend seminars are scheduled in conjunction with the annual American Society for Reproductive Medicine meeting (once a year) and on the NIH campus (6 months apart from the ASRM meeting). Graduates receive a certificate in Clinical Research. A group thesis project involving analysis of a large data set and a testing of skill acquisition became an optional, informal activity in the second year of CREST, undertaken after completion of the online certificate program. The CREST Program's impact and outcomes are promising and indicate that it is achieving its goal. The present proposal seeks to formalize the second year of the program to specifically incorporate a team science thesis project and promote the application of CREST Scholars'newly acquired skills to query existing population and clinical trial databases and perform secondary data analyses (Specific Aim 1) and to expand the available data sets for the second year of CREST training to include multiple data sources in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility, and Andrology (Specific Aim #2). These resources will provide a descriptive dataset for outcomes analysis in fertility and contraceptive practice, and generate new hypotheses for future research. The goals of the current proposal are particularly relevant to the NIH visioning process for reproduction and pregnancy research, which has both recognized the importance of viewing pregnancy as a physiologic stressor, and examining the preconceptual phase of life as a predictor of pregnancy health and disease.
The proposed study seeks to expand a highly successful training program in reproductive medicine-the Clinical Research/Reproductive Scientist Training Program (CREST)-by formalizing a second year of training in reproductive epidemiology and secondary data analyses of existing multi-center, clinical trial databases in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility and Andrology.