The Hypertension Training Program provides comprehensive, curriculum- and mentor- based research training in hypertension at the molecular, cellular, whole animal, translational, patient-oriented and population-oriented levels by continuing the process that began five years ago that integrated the resources of the Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) and the Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM) into a cohesive single, two site program. The training program is mature, being 35 years old, with nearly 2/3's of the preceptors serving longer than 5 years. Yet, also it is dynamic with 1/3 of the preceptors being new to the program. Administratively, the program is guided by three committees: Steering Committee (responsible for overall program structure and function);Mentoring Committee (responsible for the mentoring relationships);and Individual Research Committee (functions like a thesis committee). The Program is divided into five components. (1) The introductory course is a broad survey-type activity consisting of lectures and seminars that provide all trainees with broad exposure to endocrine, renal and cardiovascular physiology and pathophysiology, vascular biology, laboratory and patient-oriented research human subjects and animal care and ethics. (2) Mentor-guided research project(s) begin with trainees (with Mentoring Committee guidance) choosing one of the following broad training tracts: Patient/Population-Oriented Research;Human Genetics;or Bench Research, as well as (a) mentor(s). Trainees gain experience in diverse areas such as ethics of medical research, molecular biology, transgenic technology, signal transduction, receptor techniques, human and animal genetics, vascular biology, nutrition and detailed assessment of the factors regulating blood pressure at the cell, animal and human levels. (3) In their second year trainees are encouraged to participate in a degree program leading to a master in medical science or public health or a PhD. (4) On-going activities in this interdisciplinary, translational research program include the availability of co-mentors with specialized complementary expertise, an exchange program between MSM and BWH, a variety of lectures and seminars and rounds in which the trainee can give a presentation. (5) The program includes individual career guidance and mentoring with formal evaluations of the trainees, mentors and the program. Trainee selection criteria are: letters of recommendation, previous training experience, research interests, and the results of a personal interview. During the past 10 years, approximately 40% of entering trainees had an MD plus another degree or a PhD, with 10 MDs obtaining a second degree while in the training program. Under-representative minorities comprised 17% of the trainees during the past 10 years and 25% during the past 5 years. In the past 10 years, 90% of completers of the program have careers in research, teaching and/or administration in academia, government or industry. Funds are requested to continue to support eight post-doctoral trainees.
The primary mission of the Training Program in Hypertension is to nurture the development of individuals who will provide leadership roles in research, administration and teaching in academia, government and industry. To accomplish this mission the Program has recruited outstanding mentors committed to providing the type of environment that fosters the development of individual creativity, rigorous scientific growth and strong interpersonal skills. The trainees and mentors are linked in a program that has outstanding institutional educational and infrastructure support to successfully accomplish its overall mission of developing the next generation of highly skilled bench, translational and clinical researchers.
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