Kidney diseases are ever increasing, however there are fewer approved therapies, fewer clinical trials, and fewer research articles published than other internal medicine specialties over the past 10+ years. It has been postulated that the next generation of potential investigators and nephrologists are discouraged from pursuing careers in nephrology from a perception that kidney research is ?too complex?. However, other causes may be a limited exposure to clinical nephrology in medical school and a lack of mentors to positively influence kidney research as a career choice. To overcome these obstacles, the kidney community must be willing to utilize novel approaches to building skills and training for a diverse pool of students. Training of PhD and MD students is non-overlapping with little direct interactions of the students limiting future communication skills and creativity. Thus, a new paradigm for translational renal research training of PhD and MD students is required. The overall goal of this proposal is to initiate a pilot program in kidney disease research for a novel scheme of skills development and team training of PhD and MD students at UAB. This novel concept will incorporate team training of PhD and MD students to foster development of critical thinking, communication, team dynamics, and hands on research skills. This will be accomplished by the MD student-PhD student teams participating together in novel coursework and a shared research project. In addition, the PRedOctoral phd and md research training in TEams (PROmoTE) program will provide an opportunity for UAB students to engage directly and deeply in original research focused on kidney disease. This program will expose our students to the rigor and depth of scientific thinking and communication skills that will prepare them to contribute to medical advances throughout their careers. In addition, this program will help to expand the scientist and physician-scientist workforce dedicated to renal research that is currently shrinking in the US, as well as broaden and further enhance the culture of academic investigation of kidney disease at the UAB academic medical center.
Kidney disease is increasing today at higher rates than ever before with very few treatment options other than renal replacement therapy. Investigators trained to tackle problems in a team manner, especially to focus on kidney diseases in a translational manner, are indeed rare. Novel training paradigms are needed to empower students for life-long careers in kidney disease research.