This is a new T32 application from the Department of Pediatrics at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. Our long term objective is to establish an institutional interdisciplinary program for the career development of pediatric physician-scientists who will become the future leaders in child health research in vulnerable populations. Such populations include children who are at risk for adverse health outcomes due to intrinsic biologic differences, elevated burdens of disease, or social characteristics such as financial limitations, place of residence, and inability to communicate effectively.
The specific aims of this proposal are to identify qualified trainees at the end of residency or early in fellowship training and to provide them with an interdisciplinary research experience in the laboratory of a qualified mentor with adequate resources and space and ready access to unique populations of vulnerable children. To ensure long term success, this experience will in all cases be integrated with the Vanderbilt Master of Science in Clinical Investigation and Master of Public Health programs and an applied skills practicum in conducting research in vulnerable populations. In view of the strong applicant pool and the strengths of the proposed program, we propose support for three trainees in PGY-4 and three in PGY-5 and commit Departmental resources for a third PGY- 6 when necessary. The program directors will utilize an advisory committee composed of national experts within and external to Vanderbilt University to obtain ongoing advice with respect to candidate and mentor selection, scholarly progress of selected candidates and overall success. The proposal is broadly focused within four core disciplines that represent unique and substantial research strengths of Vanderbilt University and that define critical areas of need for new knowledge in child health research on vulnerable populations and include Pharmacoepidemiology/Pharmacogenomics, Neurodevelopment, Health Disparities, and Vaccinology/Epidemiology. Initiation of this program will permit the development of a cadre of highly-qualified pediatric physician-scientists with the skills, knowledge and dedication to solve some of the most important health care issues currently facing our nation's children.
This proposal will allow the much needed training of pediatricians in the needs of vulnerable populations of children, the research methods necessary to address important health issues for such children and the skills required to successfully engage these populations of children in research. The outcome will be the timely translation of fundamental knowledge into meaningful improvements in the health of all America's children.
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