The training program described in this renewal application represents a new paradigm for training academic cardiologists as cardiovascular scientists, based on the UCLA STAR (Specialty Training and Advanced Research) Program combining clinical subspecialty training with research training leading to a Ph.D. or Masters degree. This program has been in existence here at UCLA for 18 years and has trained over 21 cardiovascular scientists and researchers. M.D. trainees will complete 2 years of subspecialty cardiology training and 3-4 years of research training that fulfills the requirements for a Ph.D. degree in one of the basic sciences or Public health, or a Masters of Clinical Research, including formal course work and research leading to successful thesis defense. M.D./Ph.D. trainees undergo 2 years of post-doctoral research training, including elective course work. Six positions are requested, to provide support for the research training component only. The training faculty consists of 34 senior preceptors and 10 supporting faculty. Only senior preceptors may serve as primary research mentors, and they come from 8 groups: the UCLA Cardiovascular Research Laboratory, the UCLA Atherosclerosis Research Unit, the UCLA Cellular &Molecular Cardiology Unit, the Broad Stem Cell Research Center, the UCLA ACCESS Program (a multi-departmental program administering Ph.D. training in life sciences), the School of Engineering, the Biomathematics Department and, for health services research, the UCLA School of Public Health and RAND Graduate School. Supporting faculty do not act as primary mentors, but play a key role in enhancing the overall research environment and fostering translational research from the basic to the clinical arena. The research programs of the faculty are supported by over 40 million dollars in direct costs annually from extramural sources. By integrating cardiology subspecialty training with the formal recruitment of Ph.D. training (or equivalent post-doctoral training for those already having a Ph.D.), the UCLA Cardiology STAR Program provides graduates with the rigorous research background essential to translate the unparalleled advances in molecular health sciences into modern molecular medicine.
The UCLA Cardiovascular Scientist Program is specifically designed to combine comprehensive research training leading to a Ph.D. degree or equivalent with subspecialty training in clinical cardiology for M.D.'s. The goal of this program is to provide cardiologists with highly competitive research training, allowing them to translate advances in basic research to the clinic, or to address health service issues critical to society.
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