Transplantation holds the promise of reversing the clinical course of thousands of Americans afflicted with end- stage organ disease, as well as metabolic diseases. Northwestern University's transplant program is a national leader in both clinical transplantation and transplantation-related research. The number of transplant surgeons and physicians engaged in transplantation-related research had decreased in recent years. Reasons given for the lack of enthusiasm in pursuing a research-related career include 1) insufficient financial support for research training, 2) conflict between clinical specialty and su-specialty training and research training, 3) inadequate teaching of rigorous research methodology, and 4) the lack of accountability on the part of program directors to ensure that trainees committed to careers in clinical investigation are engaged in activities during their research training that enhance their competitiveness to obtain independent funding when they become faculty members. The specific objectives of this training grant are to 1) provide stipend support for trainees;2) provide mentorship by junior, mid-level, and senior investigators in collaboration with academic clinicians well versed in transplantation;3) protect trainees from clinical activities that compete for their time;4) sustain an administrative structure that expand the ethnic diversity and quality of the candidate pool;5) provide training opportunities that span the spectrum from both basic/translational science to clinical/outcomes research at their intersection with clinical transplantation;and 6) continue an ongoing evaluation process for determining whether or not the program is meeting its goals and objectives. Trainees will be exposed to a rigorous base of classroom study in the disciplines necessary for successfully conducting transplant-related research, while being exposed to various other aspects of transplant surgery. There are two different tracks trainees can select from: NUTORC (the Northwestern University Transplant Outcomes Research Collaborative) and NUCTRIBE (the Northwestern University Collaborative for Transplant Research in Immunobiology and Biomedical Engineering). Both provide intensive, rigorous training by multidisciplinary senior, mid-level, and junior mentors, as well as classroom education. NUTORC trainees may choose between an MS in Health Services and Outcomes Research, an MS in Clinical Investigation, an MS in Epidemiology and Biostatistics or an MS in Healthcare Quality and Patient Safety. NUCTRIBE trainees may select coursework from many disciplines related to their research, chosen after consultation and approval by their mentors and the Executive Committee. Both tracks are required to take coursework in the responsible conduct of research. Both tracks uniquely prepare trainees to perform innovative, state-of-the-art research in transplant-related fields.
The rapid growth of transplant surgery in the United States necessitates that a new generation of investigators be trained in transplant-related basic and clinical sciences. This application proposes to fund this training under the guidance of mentors from a variety of disciplines bringing concepts from engineering, business, and medical social sciences to innovative, ground-breaking research in topics ranging from transplant immunology to transplant patient care.
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