The overall long-term goal of the UW Voice Research Training Program is to foster the development of translational research skills in future leaders in the field of voice science. We will provide promising predoctoral students and postdoctoral fellows with comprehensive laboratory and clinical research experiences, as well as exposure to a curriculum in clinical trials, hypothesis-based research design, management, ethics, and data analysis. This is a novel training program that addresses the need for translational research education and experience by integration of both a basic science mentor and a secondary clinical mentor. The program capitalizes on existing university resources to build an outstanding voice program for pre-and postdoctoral fellows, which is not matched elsewhere. In addition, the training program offers medical students a short-term summer research opportunity, to encourage future clinicians to become physician-scientists in the field of voice research. All trainees will be exposed to a unique program not typically found in doctoral programs. The current situation in most education centers is that laryngologists and speech pathologists interested in voice are getting separate training which creates an artificial obstacle to bridge th gap necessary in translational research. The program includes a pool of experienced, extramurally funded trainers from a variety of voice-related disciplines including surgery, biomedical engineering, chemical engineering and communicative disorders; and incorporates effective assessment processes, a plan to promote diversity by recruiting and retaining both women and minorities, and a solid plan for training in the responsible conduct of research. The combination of training in voice science with a multidisciplinary focus and translational application will make a contribution to future generations of scientists. The proposed training program is enriched by collaboration with already existing training elements at the University of Wisconsin, including the UW Institute for Clinical and Translational Research. The program is currently finishing its fourth successful year and this application represents a competing renewal with a request for five additional years of funding to maintain positions for five predoctoral trainees, two post-doctoral trainees and two short-term trainees each year. The program has demonstrated tremendous success in filling all available slots through a well qualified applicant pool and a multidisciplinary group of trainers. All but one trainee who has finished the program has pursued an academic research career or intends to pursue an academic research career. Other early indicators of success of the program include three individual F31 fellowships awarded to past trainees and productive publication and presentation records.
Voice disorders affect approximately 7.5 million Americans. However, there are not a sufficient number of individuals with the expertise and training to perform high quality translational research that will result in successful treatments for these disorders. The University of Wisconsin (UW) Voice Research Training Program is training graduate students as well as individuals with PhDs and MDs to lead successful academic careers with a focus on translational research in voice.
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