Designed to address a lack of diversity in clinical research education at Harvard Medical School, the Scholars in Clinical Science Program (SCSP) was developed to provide a formal educational opportunity for individuals interested in careers in patient-oriented research. The SCSP is a two-year postgraduate master's-level program consisting of didactic courses, a weekly longitudinal seminar series, and a mentored clinical research project. Upon completion of the program, the trainee is awarded a Master of Medical Sciences degree from Harvard Medical School. The SCSP's philosophy is that the training needs of clinical investigators are analogous to those of bench scientists, in that formal instruction in basic methodologies and individual mentoring in a specific research project are critical factors in career and skill development. This concept is shared by all forms of clinical investigation, although differences in implementation of some elements may exist. Translational, patient-oriented research differs from population-oriented research in the greater use of techniques to rigorously control the environment, as provided by a General Clinical Research Center; procedures to assess the responsiveness of organ systems in both adults and children; and special methodologies including phenotype/genotype correlations and gene therapy. Also, the SCSP emphasizes the importance of developing skilled pediatric investigators, since too few well-trained pediatric researchers exist to meet current needs and research in pediatric patients has unique challenges. Four key features of the SCSP are (1) didactic courses in biostatistics, ethics, epidemiology, study design, informatics, other core disciplines, and a weekly seminar expressly developed for individuals pursuing careers in translational research; (2) an applied research project supervised by a faculty mentor; (3) rigorous tutelage over two years during which trainees have limited clinical responsibilities and extensive protected time; and (4) broad support for the career development of researchers during training and in the early years thereafter.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Center for Research Resources (NCRR)
Clinical Research Curriculum Award (CRCA) (K30)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZHL1-CSR-R (O1))
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Wilde, David B
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Harvard University
Internal Medicine/Medicine
Schools of Medicine
United States
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