Cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of mortality and morbidity in the US. The growth of the aged population over the next 20 years will dramatically increase the incidence of peripheral vascular disease (PVD) leading to a great need for new options for diagnosis, prevention and treatment. There is a relative deficit in the number of researchers whose investigations focus exclusively on peripheral vascular disease and this T32 training program is designed to train basic scientists, engineers, and clinicians who can advance the science and create new therapies for PVD. This application requests continued support for a multidisciplinary and collaborative program that co-trains young physician/scientists and PhDs with an interest in vascular disease. The overall goal of the proposed ?Vascular Surgery Research Training Program? is to provide comprehensive research training to scientists who are strongly motivated to develop a career in vascular surgery and vascular research. The program provides trainees with multiple opportunities for research activities in broad areas of vascular biology, drug development and delivery, and health services research. The program also fosters the development of knowledge, competence, skills, professional attitudes, and experience required for successful academic careers in independent NIH-funded research. The specific objectives of this program are to: 1) for selected surgical residents interested in vascular surgery, provide training in the conduct of basic, translational or health services research through participation in an individualized mentoring program, 2) develop physician-scientists and leaders in academic surgery with expertise in vascular research, 3) expand the pool of surgeon-scientists with comprehensive training in health services research, 4) expand the pool of PhD scientists who will devote their careers to vascular related research, and 5) foster an environment of collaboration between clinician-scientists and PhDs that enhances the breadth of vascular research. The program includes a pool of outstanding extramurally funded trainers from a variety of vascular- related disciplines including surgery, population health, regenerative medicine, pathology and engineering. The program has had tremendous success over its initial four years. Interest in the program has been robust with the ratio of able applicants to those accepted of over 12:1. All of the trainees have had a robust research experience working closely with a collaborative research team. Four trainees have completed the program and are continuing their training in environments that will fasciliate their continued success in developing an independent academic career with a focus on vascular disease. An additional four are currently appointed. Trainees have demonstrated tremendous productivity as evidenced by publications and national presentations. We feel that this program over time will contribute greatly to the work force of able researchers that will make transformative discoveries in the field of vascular disease. We therefore request continued funding for an additional five years and an increase in the positions from 4 to 6.
A decline in the number of physician scientists will impact our nation?s capacity to produce innovative research for patients with vascular disease. This is while the incidence of and devastation produced by vascular disease is on the rise. This training program will eliminate this deficit producing scientists, engineers, and clinicians whose successful academic careers will focus on research that will improve the lives of patients with peripheral vascular disease.
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