Meeting the promise of translational research will require a new cadre of investigators specifically trained to move discoveries from basic and clinical science to prevention and care delivery, where they actually impact the life course trajectories of children. Through this proposed NRSA training program, we will build on the experience of our interdisciplinary Harvard-wide faculty to implement an innovative, highly structured, training program for child health researchers, specifically focused on the translation of evidence into effective care delivery and community intervention for children. Because effective strategies to improve child health often cross boundaries of clinical specialties, this program will include post-residency pediatric generalists and subspecialists from any medical or surgical subspecialty, as well as PhD-trained investigators. Likewise, it will provide tailored training across methodological boundaries, including quantitative and qualitative analytic methods, and context-sensitive methods to engage communities and health systems in research. Trainee research will fall under three domains of central interest to NICHD: 1) studies that advance our understanding of the life course nature of health and illness, and lead to decreased exposure to risk factors (prenatally, in infancy, or in childhood) for future disease;2) research directly related to implementation of new knowledge and innovations in clinical practice, including methods for transforming systems to deliver more effective, coordinated care;and 3) research to eliminate disparities in both health and health care for children, which continue to have pervasive effects on child health. The program will support 3 postdoctoral fellows in each of two years of training (6 total per year). The participating faculty have expertie in a broad range of disciplines devoted to prevention and care of key health conditions including obesity, asthma, inflammatory bowel disease, autism, and complex chronic illness and disability, as well as extensive experience in working with diverse patient populations. The program also engages partner organizations currently leading national care improvement efforts. Each trainee will pursue an MPH from the Harvard School of Public Health (for core skills of biostatistics and epidemiology), and participate in a curriculum of advanced methods training required to develop and rigorously test innovative strategies in clinical settings and communities. Experienced faculty using well defined mentorship strategies, an extensive research skills curriculum, and close tracking of trainee progress, all ensure completion of high quality research and acquisition of the skills needed for productive academic careers. We expect our graduates to be poised to become leaders in translating "what we know" into "what we do" to improve health and health care for children.
Our program will train researchers whose work will ensure that discoveries in basic and clinical science are translated to improve prevention services and care delivery for children, particularly those with chronic conditions. By including a diversity of clinical pediatric disciplines and research methods, we will optimally train researchers to understand childhood risk factors for disease;to transform health systems to deliver more effective, coordinated care to all children;and to eliminate disparities in both health and health care for children.
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