We seek to further advance the CHRCDA at UCLA. We have leveraged substantial institutional support, a world-class research infrastructure, a cadre of leading mentors experienced in training pediatricians with > $100,000,000/yr of NIH grants, and the unique diversity of our University and its interdisciplinary environment, in order to foster the transition of our scholars to successful independent research careers. Chair of Pediatrics, Sherin Devaskar, MD, previously the Scientific Director of the UCLA CHRCDA, is the Principal Investigator, in concert with the Training Director, Pinchas Cohen, MD. A recruitment and diversity officer will administer the program, which will also be regularly reviewed by external advisors. Over the last 15 years, the UCLA CHRCDA has recruited over thirty outstanding scholars, many of whom were women and minorities, who have initiated transition to independent careers in basic and translational research relevant to children's health. These scholars amassed substantial achievements and subsequent funding of over $60,000,000. New candidates for our program will be UCLA Pediatric junior faculty, appointed from an impressive cohort of pediatricians enrolled in our subspecialty fellowships, or recruited through national searches for excellence and promise. Measures to attract women and minority applicants will be incorporated into the recruitment process. Each candidate will identify a prospective mentor from a group of 46 mentors chosen for their superb scientific and training abilities in areas relevant to children's health. Their projects will be tailored to meet the scholars' subspecialty interests and mentors' expertise, and will address basic/translational aspects of pediatric disease. Four pediatric scholars will be competitively selected each year and each will typically be supported for two years. They will have ready access to a comprehensive array of research core facilities, and will engage in both formal course training in research methodologies and informal on-going mentoring sessions. Each scholar will have a mentoring committee, which will interact with the Program Director and Training Director to ensure that the career development plan is individualized and implemented. Regular scholarly activities that are included in the CHRCDA program include both extensive University-wide ongoing educational activities, as well as several weekly CHRCDA pediatric-specific research lecture series. A key priority of the program will continue to be monitoring and tracking of the program as a whole, of the performance of the mentors, and of the progress of the scholars, and will be achieved through regular reviews, audits, advisory meetings, and systematic on-line data collection and analysis. Given the new dynamic leadership of the UCLA CHRCDA, its superb faculty mentors, outstanding institutional facilities, extensive curricular structure, formal selection and evaluatin processes and emphasis on recruiting women and minorities, we expect this program to enable us to substantially advance our goal of continuing our strong track record of producing independent investigators performing cutting-edge child health research.
Childhood health and diseases continues to represent a national priority and cause significant suffering and death globally and locally. In addition, many diseases of aging have their beginnings in childhood, making investment in research on pediatric topics an important goal for ensuring health throughout the lifetime. There is a critical need to advance the science related to childhood diseases, and translate basic research findings into novel interventions to improve the health of Americans of all ages. A group of renowned mentors with extensive research and training expertise will educate outstanding young pediatric physician scientists embarking on careers in academic medicine in how to conduct basic and translational research of importance to children, toward the goals of improving our knowledge of pediatric diseases and discovering novel treatments.
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