Nationwide, there is a significant shortage of pediatric endocrinologists, particularly true at academic institutions. The primary goal for this competing renewal T32 proposal is to facilitate the training of highly skilled academic pediatric endocrinologists by providing concentrated research training in either basic or patient-oriented science during fellowship. Our secondary objective is to provide an environment that will facilitate the successful advancement of women into academic careers. Fellows selected for this training program must demonstrate a strong interest in a future academic career. They will be asked to propose research plans that will allow their progression into the ranks of academic pediatric faculties. Fellows will be matched with mentors that can support their goals for research training and provide guidance for advancement to the next phase of their academic careers. Faculty mentors will be selected for their ability to facilitate this transition and to impart a culture of responsible, rigorous, and robust science as is the tradition of the Pediatric Department at University of Minnesota. Trainees choose between a basic science or a clinical science research tack. Trainees on the clinical research track will obtain a formal Master's Degree in Clinical Research. Since this program began in 2002, it has recruited 6 women (1 per year). Four have completed the program, two of whom are tenure-track academic faculty (one with a Children's Miracle Network grant and the other with a K12). The two fellows still in training are highly likely to enter academic medicine. The historic strengths of this institution and its programs afford trainees an exceptionally diverse and high quality educational experience.
Given the current epidemic of pediatric diabetes and obesity and the profound impact these diseases are likely to have on future adult health, there is an urgent public health need for physician scientists trained to be able to tackle critical endocrine problems through innovative scientific discovery and its translation into clinical practice.
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