The proposed CRECD Program at Charles R. Drew University (CDU), Mentored Postdoctoral Training in Translational Research, is a Phase II mentored clinical research and career development program designed to develop a diverse cadre of clinical and translational investigators who conduct innovative research on the underlying causes of diseases, in particular those diseases that disproportionately impact minority populations in the United States (e.g., HIV/AIDS, cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and mental health/psychiatric disorders), and to foster and facilitate professional development activities in clinical and translational sciences. Over the initial 5-year program period, the CRECD Program will accept a total of eight postdoctoral trainees at the junior faculty level at CDU, each for 3-year appointments, staggered in appointment periods. The CRECD Program will be embedded within the existing, extensive clinical research and training infrastructure at CDU, and thus will mutually leverage resources with other CDU research education and career development programs so as to achieve maximal cross-program synergies as well as efficiencies wrought from utilizing already-in-place education and training curricula and related resources germane to the CRECD agenda. However, the CRECD Program will also carve out a unique niche of training and career development opportunities within the broader CDU science-generating "critical mass" by (1) focusing exclusively on health disparities and mastery of community-partnered participatory methods in the research and research training agenda and (2) providing to each trainee a first-of-its-kind (at CDU and, by our estimate, nationwide) intensive and community-immersive mentoring configuration that includes CDU faculty from both the standard or conventional Academic Career track and the newly emerging Community Faculty track, called the Partnership for Equity and Equality in Health and Wellness. This intensive mentoring innovation directly emerges from, and formalizes and systematizes into a signature trainee mentoring configuration, a long and fruitful history of community-engaged research, training, and educational curricula at CDU. As an integrated research training and career development package, this approach is designed to bring social determinants of health to the forefront of molecular and clinical research. Ultimately, the goal is to increase the impact of community- academic partnered research and adoption of its evidence-based best practices through comprehensive dissemination of research findings so as to encourage and facilitate implementation of evidence-based treatment and prevention practices within health care organizations and the communities most in need of reliable access to high-quality care.
By providing an outstanding and intensive research mentoring, training, and career development opportunity to minority and other underrepresented postdoctoral scholars in the translational sciences, this new program at Charles Drew University will increase the diversity of the scientific workforce and develop next-generation clinical and translational investigators who conduct innovative research on the underlying causes of diseases, in particular those diseases that disproportionately impact minority populations in the United States.
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