This is a new application for the purpose of establishing a training program to provide systematic, multidisciplinary postdoctoral research training in ?Translational gastroenterology and hepatology?. Gastrointestinal complaints are the most common reason patients seek medical attention. In many instances, minority patients suffer disproportionately from gastrointestinal or liver diseases and have worse outcomes. Research in gastroenterology and hepatology has made progress to alleviate suffering but translational research that incorporates pathogenetic interrogation, characterization of epidemiologic risk factors, and attention to health care disparities is required to make sustainable and scalable advances. South Florida represents a diverse population that compels the medical and scientific community to study gastrointestinal illnesses that affect them and to train physicians and scientists who will implement their discoveries. Among the diseases affecting the South Florida population and for which prevention or precision-targeted therapy needs to be developed are inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), viral hepatitis, pancreatic disorders, colon cancer and hepatocellular cancer. In addition to the needs of our community, we have an obligation to train a diverse group of physicians and scientists. Our post-doctoral trainees represent a culturally, ethnically diverse group that is currently under-represented as NIH funded investigators. The trainees will be individuals with a MD, PhD or MD/PhD degree committed to a research career in the broad field of digestive health sciences. The framework for this research is our rich resource of laboratory-based and community-based interventions to study gastrointestinal and liver-related illnesses. The training program has two tracks: 1) Basic/Translational Science Research track, or 2) a Health Disparity and Outcomes Research track. In both tracks, trainees will spend 24 months under the direction of one or two of the faculty mentors. In either track, trainees may address one of three training themes: inflammation, regeneration, or health intervention to reduce disparities. These themes represent current research strengths within the digestive diseases research community at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine (UMMSOM) and are based on current collaborations between our participating mentors. The support of this training grant program will create the infrastructure to train two to three post-doctoral fellows per year resulting in 6 positions on an ongoing basis for both post-doctoral MD and PhD fellows. The individually customized and didactic nature of our program will allow several trainees to take courses. In some cases, trainees may apply these courses towards future advanced degrees or certificates (e.g. Master in Public Health, Master in Biomedical Engineering, Master in Clinical Investigation). Our training grant activities are coordinated within the UMMSOM, which is a global, interdisciplinary network focused on scientific discovery and solutions involving faculty from the departments of Medicine, Pediatrics, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Cell Biology, Surgery and the Hussman Institute for Human Genomics.
The burden of digestive diseases in the United States accounts for substantial morbidity, mortality and cost. This ?Translational research training program in gastroenterology and hepatology? addresses a critical need to expand the pool of gastroenterology/hepatology academicians from diverse backgrounds with comprehensive training in laboratory-based and health services research with an emphasis on precision medicine approaches to eradicate health disparities, especially among African-Americans and Latinos.