The Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics (CCEB) and the Department of Neurology, including the Division of Child Neurology, all of the Perelman School of Medicine (PSOM) at the University of Pennsylvania (Penn), propose to continue and enhance an innovative, rigorous, and successful two- to three- year research training program for clinicians in neurologic clinical epidemiology. This training program attracts trainees from institutions nationwide;its graduates are placed in institutions nationwide, resulting in a program of high impact. The training program consists of required courses in epidemiology, clinical research methodology, biostatistics, and neurologic clinical epidemiology;elective courses relevant to the trainees'methodological interests;journal clubs and clinical research conferences conducted by participating faculty in the CCEB and the Department of Neurology;extensive independent readings;instruction in the responsible conduct of research;a professional development series;grant writing and grant development experiences;an apprenticeship experience with an experienced investigator;and the completion of an independent research project in neurologic clinical research. The program: 1) trains clinicians to be rigorous and independent academic investigators able to use the range of approaches available in epidemiology to address research issues in neurologic diseases related to the etiology, prognosis, prevention and early detection, treatment, clinical economics, technology assessment, medical decision making, and quality of patient care;2) provides closely mentored research experiences with faculty preceptors in clinical epidemiology and neurology;and 3) strengthen the links between traditional epidemiology and neurology. Trainees matriculate in the Master of Science in Clinical Epidemiology (MSCE) program. Strengths of the proposed program are: 1) the long history of successful research and training programs in the CCEB and the Department of Neurology, including this training program;2) the collaborative links that have been forged among faculty with interests in clinical research in neurologic diseases;3) the comprehensive course offerings and research programs that are available to trainees;and 4) an extensive set of experienced and multidisciplinary faculty with successful training records. In addition, numerous existing large databases that can be used for research projects and training, a broad array of specialized analytic capabilities available for clinical studies employing methods of clinical epidemiology (e.g., clinical trials, case-control, cohort research, etc.), and commitmet of faculty to collaborative research and training, combine to provide an ideal environment for this training program. Finally, Penn and the PSOM promote an academic environment in which basic and clinical research are encouraged and viewed as attractive career paths for physicians.
There is a major national shortage of qualified clinician-scientists able to conduct the rigorous clinical research needed to address neurologic diseases. This training program addresses this shortage through the efforts of a distinguished, experienced, and committed training program faculty. Training will continue to be provided to those who desire careers as clinician-scientists focusing on neurologic clinical research through a program that provides trainees with the skills needed to design and conduct epidemiologic studies that will address the most vexing population-based questions in neurology.
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