The Short-Term Research Training Program for AuD Students at the Boys Town National Research Hospital (BTNRH) will provide 3-month, full-time hands-on translational research experiences in the hearing sciences to five predoctoral AuD students per year. AuD student will be involved in all aspects of a research project, working in one of 13 BTNRH laboratories currently conducting translational research related to audiology. Most of the 13 laboratory directors have extramural support, mainly from the NIDCD in the form of R01 and R03 grants. Students will work with BTNRH faculty mentors who have extensive experience working in a clinically oriented, multidisciplinary research environment. The experience will include (1) experimental design, (2) subject recruitment, scheduling and consenting (assuming the research project involve humans), (3) data collection and analysis, (4) preparation of a poster describing their work, and (5) if appropriate, preparation of a manuscript. Prior to research participation, students will complete the CITI training course related to research involving human as participants. In addition, they will participate in a course on responsible conduct in research which will meet over the course of their traineeship. Students will attend colloquia and journal groups, and will be exposed to a wide range of laboratories, in addition to the one in which they have primary interest. They will benefit from support services, including cores devoted to laboratory computing and statistical analyses, subject recruitment, and a new core, the Synergy Core, which supports colloquia and other presentations by speakers from outside BTNRH. T35 trainees also will benefit from the presence of postdoctoral fellows who work in many of the laboratories in which predoctoral AuD students will be trained. Postdoctoral fellows, many of whom will go on to academic careers, will benefit by participating with faculty mentors in the training of students. T35 trainees will benefit from the experience of BTNRH faculty who have mentored postdoctoral fellows (as part of the T32 grant), provided research training to AuD and PhD students at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln, and mentored AuD trainees who participated in the first cycle of the T35 program. T35 trainees will be recruited from AuD programs nationally, with special efforts to identify and recruit trainees from under-represented populations. Several measures will be used to assess program success including (1) exit questionnaires completed by each trainee, (2) a survey questionnaire sent to AuD program directors who are asked to provide an assessment of the impact of the T35 traineeship on their students, (3) the number of T35 trainees who go on to the PhD in preparation for a career in research, (4) the number of AuDs who work in positions in which research is emphasized, (5) the number of trainees who present their work at the national meeting of the American Auditory Society (AAS), and (6) the number of publications on which trainees are either first authors or co-authors.
The purpose of this training program is to prepare AuD students so that they can become active participants in translational research. The overarching goal is prepare these students in a way that enables them to become active partners in the process by which laboratory discoveries are moved into clinical practices related to serving patients with hearing loss. The importance of this training is magnified by the progress being made in basic and translational science, the need to translate these discoveries into clinical practice, and the number of individuals with hearing loss in the United States (numbering approximately 30 million) who require clinical services, which will be provided mainly by audiologists.
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