Support is requested for continuation of the Research Training Program in Geriatric Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). The principal goal of the UCSF Program is to prepare physician-trainees with clinical backgrounds in geriatric medicine to become independent investigators in aging research, with a particular focus on Patient Oriented Research. Accordingly, the Research Training Program is designed to integrate research training with clinical training in geriatric medicine, typically ove a 3-year period. The first year comprises training in clinical geriatrics and is funded locally. The next two years are devoted to research training and are supported by the NIA T32 funding mechanism. The UCSF Research Training Program develops skills in key areas: formulation of research questions;design of observational and experimental studies;techniques for execution of study design;critical analysis and interpretation of findings;verbal and written communication;strategies for research support;and career development strategies. The Research Training Program has two main parts. The first part is an intensive curriculum in epidemiological, biostatistical, and research methods in clinical and health services research, culminating in a master's degree. The second part consists of a supervised research experience, which is the focus of the fellows'activity after completion of the intensive core curriculum. The Program culminates in presentation of research findings at a national scientific meeting, submission of at least two peer-reviewed research reports for publication, and preparation of a grant application. These activities are supplemented by a didactic core curriculum in gerontology and aging that presents critical information in clinical geriatrics, biology of aging, psychology of aging, long-term care, ethics, health policy, and related subjects. The UCSF Research Training Program has attracted highly qualified MD and PhD candidates. Trainees are selected for their potential to establish themselves as independent investigators and academic leaders in geriatric medicine. Over the past three funding cycles, the UCSF Research Training Program has succeeded in recruiting and retaining outstanding trainees, and progressing fellows into research-oriented faculty positions with a high success rate in obtaining competitive career development awards. To build on our past success and continue training a next generation of leaders in aging research, we request a five-year continuation of funding for two postdoctoral fellows in each two research training years.
Training the next generation of clinician-investigators in aging research is essential to improving care for the growing population of vulnerable older adults. Thoughtful approaches that combine the best of research training alongside close understanding of clinical issues can produce a cadre of investigators who are well-equipped to advance research in this critical area.
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