There is a marked gap between our ability to treat neurologic diseases and our rapidly increasing understanding of normal nervous system function, disease pathogenesis, and disease pathophysiology. Improving treatment of neurologic diseases requires considerably improved integration of burgeoning basic neuroscience with clinical practice across the translational spectrum from basic discovery through preclinical and clinical research to implementation. An obstacle to improved integration of disease-oriented neuroscience research activities and more efficient translation is a deficit of appropriately trained clinician-neuroscientists. American medical schools graduate significant numbers of physicians with substantial research experience, including MD/PhDs and individuals with significant experience with and formal training in clinical and policy research. The traditionl clinical training structure, however, impedes the ability of these talented and well trained individuals to efficiently initiate productive, independent research careers. We propose a residency- fellowship based training program integrating residency-fellowship based clinical training with mentored research training to move talented and experienced trainees in Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Neuropathology to the initial stage of an independent career. The goal of the University of Michigan Clinical Neuroscientist Training Program (UMCNTP) is prepare talented clinician-neuroscientists for independent research careers across the full spectrum of disease-oriented neuroscience research. The UMCNTP is an integrated residency- fellowship program to prepare talented fledgling clinician-neuroscientists for successful applications for initial independent career support. The UMCNTP melds productive mentored research experience under the guidance of experienced senior investigators with focused didactic and hands-on career training to prepare UMCNTP trainees for successful career development applications such as K08, K23, VA CDA, or equivalents. The UMCNTP features a strong roster of mentors in the Depts. of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Pathology, a training program based on highly successful prior experiences with training clinician-neuroscientists, utilizes excellent career development resources available at the University of Michigan, and draws on the great diversity and general excellence of the Neuroscience research community of the University of Michigan.
Clinician-neuroscientists bring indispensable skills to disease-oriented research and facilitate the integration of research and clinical practice. This program will improve the supply of clinician-neuroscientists starting independent research careers.