This competing continuation application builds on seven successful five-year cycles of NRSA/NHLBI supported academic and applied research training and mentoring in cardiovascular disease (CVD) epidemiology at the Department of Epidemiology, University of North Carolina (UNC), Gillings School of Global Public Health. The goal of the program is to train innovative and effective researchers in the field of CVD epidemiology, to channel qualified scientists into a workforce capable to address the national and worldwide burden of CVD, who possess competencies that can place research at the interface between disciplines and the ability to incorporate innovation into the formulation and conduct of research. Historical strengths of the program include: engaged mentoring and numerous opportunities for active participation in research for pre- and postdoctoral trainees in environmental, behavioral, social and genetic epidemiology of CVD, subclinical atherosclerosis and community-based surveillance of CVD;integration of collaborating mentors from biostatistics, cardiology, nephrology, dental ecology, health policy, nutrition, neurology, genetics, and sociology;ongoing programmatic self-assessment and evaluation;and development of trainees from minority groups under-represented in the biomedical sciences (9 minority trainees supported in past 10 years). A process of close mentoring encourages trainees to develop individual training paths and career development models. Career development competencies and measurable outcomes are built into the yearly goals for both pre-doctoral and post-doctoral trainees. The 28 former trainees who completed predoctoral and/or postdoctoral training funded by this program since the year 2000 published 495 manuscripts (199 in first-author positions), including graduates now in academia, industry or governmental agencies. Enhancements to the program in the last five years include the promotion of peer-mentoring, the establishment of co-mentoring (a primary mentor and an associated mentor), periodic goal setting by each trainee and fellow with their mentors;and yearly evaluations of trainer and trainee. We propose to retain these components as well as introduce three new features to the training program. New elements include (1) expanded leadership structure of the program to include a Program Steering Committee, Career Development team, and Research Support team;(2) creation of an External Advisory Board;and (3) introduction of two new core research areas based on active research (vascular origins of cognitive impairment and dementia, and CVD outcomes research). We propose continuation of our four predoctoral and four postdoctoral trainees.
Through engaged mentoring, numerous active research areas, and ongoing self- assessment and innovation the Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) Epidemiology Training Program at the University of North Carolina trains innovative and effective researchers in the field of CVD epidemiology. The program seeks to meet the demands of a growing national and global burden of CVD by channeling qualified scientists into a workforce who possess competencies that can place research at the interface between disciplines and the ability to incorporate creativity into the formulation and conduct of research.
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