This training program is dedicated toward increasing the number of active clinicians who oversee an extramurally funded basic science research program. Unfortunately, only two percent of physicians are engaged in research and can be identified as physician-scientists. The Education Committee of the Society of University Otolaryngologists concluded that innovative training programs should work to develop research skills in their trainees by providing protected time for research activities. For this reason, the overall goal of the proposed Training Program is to foster the development of research skills (both basic and translational) in selected individuals from the pool of talented otolaryngology residents and fellows at the University of Pittsburgh, who are interested in head and neck oncology. To our knowledge, this is one of the very few training programs in an Otolaryngology residency and an American Head & Neck Society (AHNS) accredited fellowship program supported by the NCI, dedicated to training physician-scientists in the area of head and neck oncology. The unique training opportunities supported by this grant have allowed us to recruit talented trainees who are interested pursuing academic careers in head and neck oncology.
The aims of the program are to: 1) provide training in research methodology that will foster the developing clinician?s ability to become an independent investigator; and 2) to prepare the trainee for an academic career. Interfacing this research program with the Otolaryngology Residency Program and the Fellowship in Advanced Head and Neck Oncologic Surgery provides two outstanding pools of applicants for selection as trainees. It also enables trainees to acquire an education in both clinical skills and basic research approaches, with the ultimate goal of establishing an independent research program. Trainees may choose from preceptors from a wide variety of disciplines in head and neck oncology-related fields to accommodate diverse research backgrounds and interests. In addition, trainees can participate in a unique Research Training Program at the University of Pittsburgh, which is part of the Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) (3UL1RR024153-03S209), and have the opportunity to take several formal courses, participate in seminar programs and journal clubs, and are also be required to complete the web-based research integrity course offered by the School of Medicine. The trainee?s progress during the Otolaryngology residency program as well as the effectiveness of the preceptor and overall program is monitored and evaluated by an Advisory Committee composed of members of the academic community with extensive training experiences. A second track is embedded within the Fellowship in Advanced Head and Neck Oncologic Surgery, accredited by the American Head and Neck Society. As fellowship director, Dr. Duvvuri and his fellowship selection committee carefully select outstanding candidates with a particular interest in translational research and a career in academic head and neck oncology. These fellows spend at least 2 years, with focused clinical activity, and protected, dedicated research blocks to permit their development of an independent project worth and ready for K-type grant submission by the end of their T32 training period.

Public Health Relevance

This training program is dedicated toward increasing the number of well-trained physicians who also perform basic science studies (do research) in head and neck cancer. We seek to reach this goal through providing training in laboratory techniques, research methodology and preparing the trainees for academic careers in head and neck cancer.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Institutional National Research Service Award (T32)
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Subcommittee I - Transistion to Independence (NCI)
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Lim, Susan E
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University of Pittsburgh
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United States
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