This competing continuation application builds on eight successful five-year cycles of NRSA/NHLBI supported research training in cardiovascular (CV) 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 researchers in the field of CV epidemiology, to channel qualified scientists into a workforce capable to address challenges in CV health, and to provide them with the competencies necessary for multidisciplinary work. Historical strengths of this program include: engaged mentoring, participatory learning, and numerous research opportunities for trainees in environmental, behavioral, social, genetic epidemiology of cardiovascular disease (CVD), subclinical atherosclerosis, neuroepidemiology, and community-based surveillance of CVD. We also emphasize mentored career development of trainees from minority groups under-represented in the biomedical sciences (12 minority trainees supported in past 10 years). New components to the program introduced over the last five years included an External Advisory Board, and two new core research themes (vascular origins of cognitive impairment, and CVD outcomes research). We propose to retain these along with other successful components, as well as introduce three new areas of emphasis including: (1) integration of electronic health record capabilities into research, (2) a cross-cutting theme on scientific rigor and reproducibility, and (3) greater emphasis on oral and written communication competencies of trainees and fellows. Attracting trainees from minority groups underrepresented in the biomedical sciences will continue to be a priority. Since 2005 this program provided training and funding support for 22 pre-doctoral and 16 postdoctoral fellows. Ten trainees are currently in our training program. Of the 24 trainees and fellows who have completed the training program in the past 10 years, 23 are currently engaged in research, including 14 in academics, 5 in state or federal agencies, 3 in for-profit organizations, and 1 in medical practice. The 36 predoctoral or postdoctoral trainees funded by this program since the year 2005 published 709 manuscripts (213 as first-author) since entering the program. Of the first-authored papers, 92 were from predoctoral trainees and 121 from postdoctoral fellows. Using the time since admission to this program as a denominator, this translates into an average rate of 2.9 publications per person-year. The program's leadership and support structure include a program steering committee, an External Advisory Board, teams focused on mentorship, modular curriculum, career development, peer-led workshops, seminar series, journal clubs, and national and international research collaboration opportunities. We propose continuation of our four predoctoral and four postdoctoral trainee positions.
Through active learning, engaged mentoring, numerous active research areas, and ongoing self- assessment the Cardiovascular (CV) Epidemiology Training Program at the University of North Carolina trains innovative and effective researchers in the field of CV Disease epidemiology. The program seeks to meet the demands of a growing national and global burden of CV disease by channeling qualified scientists into a workforce who possess methodologic strengths, interdisciplinary competencies, and the ability to innovate.
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