Research in Rehabilitation Sciences is critical to health, particularly as relates to aging populations and those with disability. However, rehabilitation science research has lagged behind other areas of biomedical research possibly because of the interdisciplinary nature of practice. As a result, practice in rehabilitation specialties is often based on experience (art so to speak), tradition, case-reports, intuition, and assumption rather than scientifically derived evidence. The reasons for this reality are complex but one of the important factors is a lack of well-trained rehabilitation researchers, especially those who focus on patient-oriented, translational research. Ideally, research training begins in the post-baccalaureate and post- doctoral years. However, many of these potential investigators begin their rehabilitation careers in the clinical trenches, and are mostly motivated to treat patients. The PIs are proposing an intensive grant writing workshop that builds upon the model developed by the Enhancing Rehabilitation Research in the South (ERRIS) workshops. Unlike passive seminars on grant writing, selected mentees will come prepared to complete at least the specific aims for a grant proposal for submission to the NIH or other funding agency. The target audience for this workshop includes junior and mid-level faculty in all rehabilitation research disciplines who are on the cusp of success in NIH-funded or similar research. The PIs will bring together a nationally recognized group of mentors and consultants as faculty. In addition, they will utilize the excellent local resources at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, such as the Cecil Sheps Center for Health Services Research to support the mentorship of mentees. This workshop will provide the expertise and support to be successful at the national level in obtaining research grant support. At the workshop guidance in grant writing, clinical trial design, biostatistics, informatics, collaboration, grantsmanship, budgeting, and career development through lectures and individual consultation will occur. One-on-one mentorship is the centerpiece of this workshop. The PIs will pay particular attention to following up with mentees and their home institution mentorship team after the workshop to maximize the chance for success and thus develop a cadre of well-trained, rehabilitation researchers whose expertise will foster better rehabilitation research design. Finally, they will also work to increase the representation of women and underserved minorities, and disciplines, such as engineers and physiatrists, as rehabilitation researchers.
Research in Rehabilitation Sciences is critical to health, particularly as relates to aging populations and those with disability. However, rehabilitation science research has lagged behind other areas of biomedical research possibly because of the interdisciplinary nature of practice. The PIs are proposing aggressive strategies to remedy the shortage of fundable junior faculty, especially those who are women and minorities within the field of rehabilitation research.