This research training program in pulmonary and critical care medicine, open to MD's that have completed their residency training and PhD's in health sciences, is in its fourth year. It is designed to provide 2 to 3 years of support for trainees in clinical and translational research and offers optional participation in the Vanderbilt Master of Science in Clinical Investigation (MSCI) and Master of Public Health (MPH) programs. To date, 16 trainees have joined the program, 11 MD's and 3 PhD's, and 2 MD/PhD's. 7 have completed or are enrolled in the MSCI program and 1 in the MPH program. Fifteen junior faculty have/are participating in the mentor-in- training arm of the program. Given the success of the first 9 years, we are requesting renewal of funding support. Remarkable advances in the prevention, cure, and management of acute and chronic disease have occurred in past decades. However, there is growing national concern that expert clinical investigators who can translate new research findings to practice are decreasing in numbers. It has never been more important to create and maintain a cadre of physician-scientists, given the unprecedented developments at the cellular and molecular level, including knowledge of the human genome. Innovation in selection, training and career development of new investigators is greatly needed. Vanderbilt University has a very successful history in developing well trained researchers who have the vision and the skills with which to embark on successful careers in academic research, both basic and clinical. This training program, Clinical and Translational Research Training Program in Pulmonary Medicine will focus on training and mentoring researchers in all aspects of clinical and translational research necessary to prepare them for the unique challenges associated with advancing science in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine. Although clinically oriented, the program includes an introduction to the basic mechanisms of disease and the importance of collaborating with basic researchers in hypothesizing and designing clinical research and offers trainees opportunities to explore hypotheses anywhere on the continuum of translational research. This training program accepts 2-3 new trainees per year (maximum 5 participants/yr). Applicants who show exceptional aptitude for successfully pursuing an academic research career are considered for participation. The program concentrates on developing expertise in four core areas: Asthma, Pulmonary Hypertension, Idiopathic Lung Disease and Critical Care Research; all of these are areas of national recognition and research presence for Vanderbilt. The Program Director's lead a team of experts in these areas who are engaged in successful academic research careers, who play significant roles in supporting trainees in developing skills in understanding research; applying those skills; identifying and resolving research related process problems; and understanding and applying the principals of responsible conduct of research; in ways that will prepare them to utilize the skills they acquire in the pursuit of future academic research careers.
It has never been more important to create and maintain a cadre of PhD and physician-scientists engaged in translational research. Given the unprecedented developments at the cellular and molecular level, including knowledge of the human genome, we are now poised for unprecedented progress in translation of this new knowledge base to the study of the pathophysiology, prevention and treatment of human disease. Investment and innovation in the training and career development of this class of new investigators is greatly needed; this training program in clinical and translational research will prepare future researchers for the unique challenges associated with advancing science and public health in the realm of pulmonary and critical care medicine.
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