This application is the second renewal of T32 HL082610, ?Translational Research Training in Sleep Medicine,? currently in Month 42 of our second 5-year grant period. The broad aim of this program is to train the future generation of clinical and basic researchers in a translational approach to sleep medicine. For the next 5-year period, we propose to sharpen our focus on the emerging concept of sleep health?specifically, on the mechanisms whereby sleep influences health, and the evaluation of sleep interventions to improve health. Our philosophy is that effective research training in sleep medicine incorporates translational content, multidisciplinary faculty, and competency-based outcomes. Guided by this philosophy, our training program includes: A primary focus on mentored research with experienced, well-funded sleep medicine investigators; Team mentoring, with co-mentors representing complementary content and methodologic areas, and careful evaluation of mentor and mentee progress; Didactic work including mini-courses in sleep research methods, critical appraisal of current literature, professional development, and responsible conduct of research; Measurable outcomes, including trainee publications, presentations, and grant applications; Individual and group instruction in the preparation of career development award applications; Individually-prescribed formal coursework; and access to the broad training and research support resources of the University of Pittsburgh, including those of the Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI). The training program includes two components: 1) A 2-3 year postdoctoral training fellowship for nationally-recruited physician scientists and PhD graduates of psychology, epidemiology, and neuroscience programs. We propose to maintain the current program size of 4 postdocs. 2) Research experiences for medical students, which comprise two pathways: a 10-week Summer Research Program and a Longitudinal Scholarly Project running through four years of medical school. We propose to enroll 4 medical students each year in these programs. During our initial 8 years, our trainees have enjoyed considerable success: Our 14 postdocs have published an average of 6.1 peer-reviewed papers during training; 12/14 have submitted F or K Award applications; and 7/9 who have completed the review process (78%) have received K awards. The influence and success of our training program has extended to sleep-focused postdocs in other Pitt programs who are mentored by Sleep Medicine training faculty: All 4 who applied (100%) received career development awards. Our 16 medical students have submitted 12 abstracts and published 8 peer-reviewed papers. We have systematically evaluated our program with our trainees, University Advisory Board, and External Advisory Board. Based on these evaluations, we propose to further strengthen the program with more structured orientation, earlier evaluation of mentor-mentee ?fit,? streamlined meetings and educational programs, technology-assisted multi- institutional workshops, and enhanced recruitment of MD and under-represented minority trainees.

Public Health Relevance

Sleep is critical to health. In order to advance our understanding of how sleep influences health, and how sleep interventions may improve health, we need to train a new generation of sleep and circadian researchers. The aim of this program is to provide such training for postdoctoral fellows and medical students, focusing on mentored research with accomplished faculty, measurable outcomes such as publications and research grants, and a multi-disciplinary perspective on sleep and health.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
Institutional National Research Service Award (T32)
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NHLBI Institutional Training Mechanism Review Committee (NITM)
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Tigno, Xenia
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University of Pittsburgh
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