This is a proposal to provide intensive, mentored research training for pediatric neurologists who are within 5 years after finishing their clinical training in pediatrics and pediatric neurology, and who want to continue in an academic/research position. The name of the program will be the Child Neurologist Career Development Program (CNCDP) that will be sponsored by the NIH/NINDS and it is intended that CNCDP will replace a similar program of mentored research for pediatric neurologists called the Neuroscience Academic Development Award (NSADA). The NSADA program has been operating since 1992, and it has fostered the education of numerous child neurologists in academic positions, but less than half of the graduates of the NSADA program have gone on to become PI's of independent career development grants such as the K08, K23 or R01 awards or continued in the role of independent clinician-scientists. The CNCDP is intended to correct the shortcomings of the NSADA, and the most important change will be that the CNCDP will be a unified national program directed by a single PI with a Steering Committee and a National Advisory Committee (NAC), referred to as he CNCDP leadership. This plan is different from the NSADA program in which nine individual PI's of separate NIH awards reported directly to NIH-NINDS. The new CNCDP structure will include two layers of mentorship: a mentorship team at the scholar's home institution and mentorship from the national CNCDP leadership. Under the CNCDP plan, individual pediatric neurologists and mentorship teams will be able to apply for CNCDP support from any academic institution in the US with a pediatric neurology training program. The CNCDP Steering Committee will work with prospective candidates to find appropriate mentors and to apply for CNCDP support using the same form as for the NIH K08 Award. A separate NAC that includes national and international leaders in pediatric neuroscience will review the applications and choose up to 6 of the most meritorious for funding per year. Over 5 years, a total of 30 trainees are planned for the program. There is a transition plan for current NSADA scholars to complete their mentored research. Successful applicants to the program will present a training program that links scientific research training with a clinical career in pediatric neurology so that they are not separate but integrated. The scientific merit of the program and the quality of the mentors will be outstanding. The program will include training in experimental design, biostatistics and the responsible conduct of research, but generally will not include prolonged didactic work that can detract from the scholar's research and mentorship. Then the CNCDP leadership will continue to participate in the scholar's mentorship through an initial site visit to the scholar's institution, frequent webinar meetings with the scholar and mentoring committee, and a yearly two day retreat meeting in which scholars present their work to the CNCDP leadership and outside experts. CNCDP leadership will strictly enforce the rule that scholars must be protected to do research for 75% of their time.
This pediatric neurology research career development program will train young doctors who care for children with brain disorders how to do research to learn how to treat these disorders. We know how to diagnose many children's brain disorders but often there is no treatment. This program will provide three years of support for these doctors to focus on research and make important discoveries.
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