The Nutrition, Obesity and Atherosclerosis Training Program at the University of Washington is a successful Training Program, now in its 39th year of funding. The overall goal of the program continues to be to provide a highly qualified group of postdoctoral MD clinicians and PhD scientists with the research skills they need to become fully independent biomedical investigators in the areas of nutrition, obesity and atherosclerosis. The training program utilizes 29 investigators at the University of Washington who are performing both basic and clinical research in these areas as preceptors. Use is also made of a number of basic and clinical scientists with whom the core faculty collaborates to broaden research opportunities and resources available to trainees in the program. Trainees entering the program previously have obtained either an MD or PhD degree and most MD candidates have completed residency training. Some have had some prior research experience. PhD candidates have demonstrated ability in a basic science discipline and have demonstrated capability for research related to the focus of this program. Selection of the 4 candidates supported by this training grant is made by an Internal Advisory Committee from a large pool of qualified applicants who continue to apply for research training in metabolism, endocrinology and nutrition at the University of Washington. This program provides trainees with research experience in both basic and clinical science necessary in preparation for independent research careers. Appointments to the Training Program are for at least 2 years, with an optional 3rd year available. The program also includes opportunities for trainees to interact through program-specific meetings, and to present their research to peers, preceptors, invited scientists from other academic institutions, and at national scientific meetings. A series of didactic lectures, seminars, and journal clubs related to the topics of lipids, obesity, nutrition and atherosclerosis, as well as in scientific methods and biomedical ethics, complement the research training. Rigorous evaluation of trainees and preceptors is performed bi-annually and is overseen by the Internal Advisory Committee and an External Advisory Committee. The Nutrition, Obesity and Atherosclerosis Training Program has been highly successful in training productive scientists, including scientists from underrepresented groups, in these areas during the current funding period, and will provide an even stronger training environment due to several changes in overview, coherence, and training opportunities during the next funding period.
Over-nutrition and obesity are important contributors to the cardiovascular disease epidemic in the United States and worldwide. A major reason for the increase in cardiovascular disease is the rapidly increasing prevalence of obesity in both adults and children, many of whom will develop cardiovascular disease, and so the burden on our society is tremendous. The Nutrition, Obesity and Atherosclerosis Training Program trains new generations of postdoctoral MD clinicians and PhD scientists to tackle these problems, taking advantage of the multidisciplinary and broad training environment at the University of Washington.
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