The goal of the Research Training Program in Pediatric Cardiology is to attract and train highly qualified physician scientists and PhD scientists dedicated to advancing the understanding, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of pediatric and congenital heart disease. We are requesting 8 trainee positions, on average including 4 with MD or MD-PhD degrees and 4 with PhD degrees. We will expose trainees to the clinical, translational, or basic research techniques that represent the current state of the art. We will also teach trainees the importance of teamwork, the clear communication of research findings, responsible conduct of human and laboratory research, and mentoring skills. A Research Training Executive Committee (RTEC), comprising the Program Directors and five current mentors, will oversee the progress of fellow training, career development, and mentoring, approve new mentors, and ensure that existing mentors meet the metrics of the training program. A Core Curriculum includes Work-in-Progress meetings, a T32 journal club, a cardiovascular seminar series, a course in statistical methods, a hands-on didactic series in cardiac anatomy, a career development seminar, and attendance at the Circulation Editorial Board meetings. Trainees will also participate in an annual retreat and quarterly informal meetings of all T32 trainees and mentors. Through these interchanges, clinically oriented trainees will gain understanding of fundamental cardiovascular biology, and basic science trainees will gain understanding of important clinical problems. An External Advisory Committee (EAC) will have three visits in the five year grant period and will meet with Program directors, mentors and trainees, as well as provide the RTEC with written reports of their findings. An Internal Advisory Committee will comprise senior scientists and experienced mentors who will facilitate effectiveness of training by suggesting strategies that have proved successful in training programs in other disciplines within our institution. Milestones and metrics for trainee progress and the training program itself are outlined and will be overseen by the RTEC. Considerable institutional support includes supplementation of trainee stipends and travel funds, and support for the EAC and program activities. Excellent training in rigorous experimental bench research and in translational and clinical investigation within an interactive and vibrant program should prepare graduates to become leaders in pediatric cardiology and cardiovascular research.
Pediatric cardiology, like all of medicine, is poised to benefit from burgeoning advancements in genetics, genomics, bioengineering, and developmental, cellular and molecular biology. It is also fertile ground for rigorous prospective clinical investigation related to bioengineering, transcatheter, and pharmacological interventions, as well as cell therapy and regeneration for selected cardiovascular diseases. The challenges of this Training Program are to recruit basic, translational, and clinical researchers to these tasks and to bridge the still substantial gap between the laboratory and the bedside in pediatric cardiology. .
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