This application for the UCLA Resident Scientist Training Program (RSTP) proposes a novel approach to recruiting, training, and retaining clinician-investigators at the level of clinical residency. The overarching goal of the RSTP is to increase the recruitment and retention of qualified clinician-investigators to pursue successful scientific careers in cardiovascular, hematologic, and pulmonary diseases. Our program will focus on promising internal medicine residents from our large program, with deep interest in becoming physician- scientists, but for whom there is neither structured access into the research training pipeline, nor infrastructure and financial support.
Our aims will be to: 1) Recruit and select highly qualified residents who are motivated to study cardiovascular, pulmonary, or hematologic sciences, 2) Ensure adequate protected time and supplemental support during residency, 3) Provide intense research training by pairing them with carefully selected leading scientists, and 4) Cultivate commitment through career development training by senior experienced mentors and exposure to our large community of physician-scientist faculty and trainees. This proposal is based on 25 years of successful experience with the UCLA Specialty Training and Advanced Research (STAR) Program in selecting, recruiting, training, and mentoring physician-scientists at the level of clinical fellowship training. An analysis of the first 20 years of that program, which combines clinical fellowship with graduate level research leading to a PhD degree, showed that 80% of its trainees remained in active research careers. This RSTP will be directed by the Founder and Executive Director of the UCLA STAR Program, and while it is a natural extension of the existing program, it is clearly distinct. The RSTP will provide 15 months of protected time for research in basic, translational, or health services/policy research. Each Resident-Scientist will have an Individualized Development Plan crafted by the resident, Research Preceptor, and RSTP leadership. This plan will set the framework for their intense research training, and the basis for evaluating the trainees' progress by an Advisory Committee of UCLA faculty with intimate experience of career development and of administering training grants. Resident-Scientists will be integrated into our existing curriculum for physician-scientist trainees. A total of 6 positions are requested for the 4-year project period, and support will be requested for the research-training component only. Two additional spots will be fully funded by the Department of Medicine. The faculty will include 33 carefully selected Research Preceptors with a track record of sustained extramural funding and mentoring scientists, representing the Cardiovascular, Pulmonary, and Hematology/Oncology divisions, the Schools of Engineering and Public Health, as well as the RAND Graduate School. By building on the same effective research training environment for clinicians that has been successfully employed by STAR Program, this proposal will attract, train, and retain clinician-investigators to address the declining fraction of the scientific workforce represented by physician-scientists.
The UCLA Resident-Scientist Training Program is designed to combine rigorous research training with specialty training in internal medicine. The goal of this program is to attract physicians during residency into careers as clinician-investigators by training and retaining them in the scientific workforce, allowing them to develop and/or translate advances in basic, translational, and health services research to benefit patients, and to address health service questions critical to health and well-being of society.