It is critical to the future of pediatric cardiology that talented clinician-scientists continue to be fostered and encouraged to conduct research related to cardiovasculardisorders that have their origins during fetal life, childhood or adolescence. This proposal requests a continuation of the University of Iowa's pediatric cardiology Institutional Ruth L. Kirschstein NRSA, established in 1978. The goal of this proposal is to foster multidisciplinary research training for three MD and MD/PhD postdoctoral fellows per year in clinical, basic science or population research. The two- to three-year training program will serve as a foundation for a career in academic pediatric cardiology. A diverse group of scientists from 10 departments and 3 Colleges has been identified to serve as mentors. Mentors from clinical, basic science, public health and engineering departments use state-of-the-art techniques to explore specific questions in genetics, molecular and cellular biology, physiology, cardiovascular imaging, and epidemiology. The Executive Committee of the Training Program provides group mentorship oversight and guides trainees through the early stages of selecting a mentor and choosing a research discipline and monitors their progress during training. Trainees attend structured lectures and group discussions on many of the aspects needed for successful academic careers. Attention is given to career development with time available for interaction with other scientists at local and national meetings, and manuscript and grant preparation. Our program has trained 39 pediatric cardiologists to study diverse topics from cardiac development and ontogenesis to the prevention of cardiovascular risk in youth. After completing this program, almost 85% took academic appointments and a significant number (51%) continued their research interests by obtaining extramural funding (N=20). This proposal requests ongoing support of our program, which 1) recruits talented applicants who desire a career in academic pediatric cardiology with an emphasis on research and 2) fulfills the recommendation of the NIH Task Force to encourage and support clinicians interested in becoming independent investigators of pediatric cardiovascular diseases and to develop centers for training these scientists.
Congenital heart disease is the most common birth defect. Increasing our understanding of the origins and treatments of cardiac abnormalities children and adolescents requires that we continue to train talented clinician scientists in pediatric cardiology. The goal of this proposal is to continue funding for a program with a long track record of training researchers in pediatric cardiology.
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