We propose to develop an early career development program involving clinical researchers from the six Schools of the Health Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh and UPMC. Pitt's Comparative Effectiveness Research (CER) Scholars Program is designed to prepare scientists for independent careers in CER. The CER Scholars will receive didactic training and experience in diverse types of research methods to answer questions about the comparative effectiveness of treatments, interventions, and management strategies using cutting-edge research designs and methods. The objectives of the program are to: 1) Provide rigorous didactic training encompassing a broad spectrum of CER research methodologies, technologies, concepts, and research tools;2) Immerse CER Scholars in multidisciplinary research programs and provide teaching in leadership, management, and team building;3) Provide mentoring and career guidance to CER Scholars and experiences in the conduct of CER projects from conceptualization to completion;and 4) Guide CER Scholars in the development and submission of competitive grant applications, so they become successful independent researchers. Key features of our program for the development of leaders in CER include: a customized education and training program to meet the needs of individual Scholars (building on courses in development using an ARRA supplement to create a core CER curriculum within the CTSI);excellent training in a diverse set of fundamental skills in CER;a CER-rich research environment of Institutes and centers focusing on lOM priority areas and carrying out diverse CER projects;the opportunity to conduct all aspects of in-depth mentored research projects;experiences participating in an advanced journal club that contributes to Scholars'growth and leadership abilities;opportunities for exploring specific research methods through short-term internships and rotations at evidence-based practice centers;and a multifaceted mentoring program to train both mentees and mentors in how to get the most out of mentoring. The entire training program and all its components will be intensively evaluated. The ultimate goal of the program is to increase the nation's CER capacity.
At a time when rapid advances and new discoveries contribute to the complexity of decision making in health care and health care delivery, the need for excellent comparative effectiveness research is clear. To ensure that the research is of high quality, it is necessary to train a new cohort of investigators in specific CER methods.
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