As basic, translational, and clinical neuroscience explodes in knowledge with new areas of research and treatment advances, we are simultaneously experiencing a reduction in the number of competitive applications to NINDS by clinician-scientists (K grants), and in particular, very low numbers of underrepresented minority (URM) applicants. We therefore must systematically begin earlier in the next generation's careers to meld residency/clinical fellowship training with formal research experiences and tools. This is necessary to invigorate our trainees to develop and maintain the "fire in their belly" to properly conduct and lead sustained, funded research on mechanisms, etiologies, and treatments of neurological diseases. Our R25 application from The Neuroscience Research Education Program at The State University of New York (SUNY) Downstate Medical Center called The "Resident Training In Research Activities In Neuroscience (SUNY "R TRAIN") is designed to formally develop physician neuroscientists in Neurology at SUNY Downstate College of Medicine. This program provides research and educational experiences that prepare the trainees, including URMs, to successfully compete for individual fellowships/mentored career development awards that should facilitate independent research careers. Specifically we propose to: Recruit one neurology resident each year who clearly demonstrates both ability and desire for research and who would benefit from formal research mentoring. The major goals include: (1) immerse the resident in a research intensive, mentored milieu focused on developing her/him into a physician researcher to prepare the candidates to compete successfully for K08 or K23 awards and (2) further develop, refine, and employ a formalized research training curriculum for the neurology residency/first year of clinical neuroscience research fellows. This program, The SUNY R TRAIN, will utilize established programs and institutional resources at SUNY Downstate to create a collaborative mentoring team (Primary Mentor and Collaborating Faculty) for each trainee, enhance the trainees'multi-disciplinary research milieu within the SUNY R TRAIN program by employing additional existing research co-mentorship opportunities from various departments, and evaluate the SUNY R TRAIN program on an ongoing basis. There will be sixteen primary mentors with a combined mentoring and funding track record. Given almost half of our residents are URMs, we project filling a critical need of training URMs as clinician-scientists in neurology research.
Neurological diseases can be devastating and include stroke, Alzheimer's disease and other causes of cognitive decline, epilepsy, and neurodegenerative conditions among others. In order to better understand causes and treatments of these conditions, the next generation of physicians doing research in these areas must begin training in research during their highly formative years - namely their residency - when they see and care for these patients for the first time. We propose to train residents, including underrepresented minorities in neurological research education to help foster and develop their chances of success.
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