The need for training pediatric infectious disease physician scientists has never been greater. Despite advances in vaccines and antimicrobials, new infectious diseases frequently emerge, re-emerge, or develop resistance to available therapies. These new infectious challenges require intense and diverse training such as that provided at Duke University Medical Center. The optimal training milieu requires astute clinicians knowledgeable in pediatric infectious diseases and skilled in modern scientific methods who can develop novel approaches to the understanding and treatment of childhood infections. The Duke University Pediatric Infectious Diseases training program has the environment and resources to provide exceptional training in clinical medicine and state of the art research training in basic science, clinical, health services, or global health investigation. The participating faculty is divided into four areas of research emphasis, areas selected to provide trainees with maximal opportunity to develop skills essential for addressing the major issues in childhood infectious diseases. The four areas include: 1) Bacterial Pathogenesis and Infection;2) Fungal Pathogenesis and Infection;3) Global Health and HIV/AIDS;and 4) Quantitative Sciences and Clinical Outcomes. A purposeful mixture of faculty from other clinical and basic science departments serves to foster collaborative interactions and to provide trainees with the opportunity to work closely with leaders in each field. A deliberate process for mentor selection is coordinated to ensure strong and consistent mentoring, and all program faculty mentors are established investigators with proven success in research and training. Training includes weekly mandatory seminars in a structured Core Curriculum, a 12-hour scientific writing course, mandatory graduate coursework, and regular oral presentations to laboratory and research groups. A Scientific Oversight Committee provides a written report to the Internal Advisory Committee semi-annually, followed by an annual review by the External Advisory Committee. Trainees are required to write at least two grant applications, present an abstract at a national or international meeting, and be a primary author on at least three peer-reviewed publications. Trainees also benefit from an extended formal mentorship program that will continue for three years after completing the training program, designed to facilitate transition into a successful academic career. This application requests support for one PGY5 trainee and two PGY6 trainees. This training program, linked with a detailed and robust mentoring and evaluation program, will allow trainees to develop the knowledge and understanding necessary to pursue independent research careers in academic pediatric infectious disease. This training grant will allow us to develop innovative pediatric physician-scientists fully prepared to pursue independent academic careers investigating critical issues in pediatric infectious diseases. The trainees will become the leaders in the field of infectious diseases and become key mentors to future pediatric physician-scientists.
Infectious diseases are among the leading causes of death in children worldwide and infectious disease mortality is increasing in the United States. Unfortunately, there is a paucity of physician scientists entering the field of pediatric infectious diseases with rigorous scientific training to pursue research toward combating this growing problem. The proposed training program will address this gap by developing outstanding pediatric infectious diseases physician scientists.
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