We propose a training program that will recruit two postdoctoral scholars per year for a two-year fellowship devoted to research on the pathophysiology of trauma. The goals of this training program are to nurture talented individuals in the areas of basic, translational, and clinical investigation, to teach them to design and implement successful research projects, and to provide them a background in the ethics and methods of scientific research. We are particularly interested in training individuals who will become the next generation of investigators in several areas related to the physiologic response to and recovery from trauma, burn, and traumatic shock, such as inflammatory and immunologic factors, resuscitative mechanisms, sepsis, hemorrhagic shock, organ system dysfunction, and wound healing and regeneration. The training program includes two years of full-time effort conducting research under the supervision of one or more of a large group of talented Research Training Faculty mentors, often involving collaboration across disciplines and departments. Trainee appointments begin with a week-long course in the Responsible Conduct of Research and in several other training activities geared toward protection of the rights and welfare of and the regulatory requirements for conducting research with human subjects and for the humane care and use of laboratory animals. In addition, fellows complete a Master's of Public Health (MPH) degree, with an emphasis in biostatistics, critical appraisal of medical literature, research methodology, project management, and grantsmanship, as well as ongoing weekly seminars. Trainees are required to present their research at grand rounds and research conferences, to submit abstracts to national meetings, and to publish their work. Program leadership includes a Training Advisory Committee to assist the Program Director in recruiting and selecting trainees, approving trainee research and didactic plans, matching trainees with Research Training Faculty, and monitoring of program activities, and a Program Evaluation Committee to provide overall program evaluation. The Diversity Recruitment and Retention Committee assists the Program Co-Director in efforts to attract and retain members of underrepresented groups to increase the diversity of the training program. All of the Research Training Faculty in the program are established investigators with current NIH or other extramural funding and are experienced mentors of physician-scientists. Faculty members have diverse interests, allowing multiple candidates to find appropriate mentors within the training program, and there is a strong institutional history of multidisciplinary collaboration. Clinician-Scientist mentors provide caree guidance and additional support to trainees with regard to the multiple roles filled by contemporary academic trauma and burn surgeons involved in research, clinical, educational, and outreach activities. There is a growing demand for academic trauma and burn surgeons to guide subsequent generations of providers and lead the development of innovative treatments. This grant is designed to help meet this need.
Traumatic injury is the leading cause of death for Americans between the ages of 1 and 44, accounting for nearly half of all deaths in this age group, as well as significant long-term complications for many who survive, and the highly-specialized surgical care available at Level 1 trauma centers substantially improves patient survival and recovery from traumatic injury when compared to less specialized treatment. Further advances in the treatment of traumatic injury will require trauma surgeons to actively pursue the research necessary to make new discoveries and develop new systems of care, which is facilitated by adding formal preparation in the methods and application of scientific investigation to their clinical training. The program described herein provides the methodological and experiential groundwork essential for addressing this need.
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