The Department of Neurology, including the Division of Child Neurology, and the Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics (CCEB) at the University of Pennsylvania propose to continue and enhance an innovative, rigorous, and successful two- to three-year research training program for clinicians in both adult and pediatric neurologic clinical epidemiology research. The training program focuses on mentored research with an experienced investigator that involves didactic training and the planning, design, conduct, analysis, and interpretation of an independent research project in neurologic clinical research, all intended to be the next step in a trainee's academic career preparing him/her for a career as an independently funded researcher. Trainees matriculate in the Master of Science in Clinical Epidemiology (MSCE) program. Didactic coursework consists of required courses in epidemiology and biostatistics, the basic sciences of high quality clinical research, methodology in neurologic clinical epidemiology, advanced epidemiology, protocol development, sophisticated biostatistics, and elective courses relevant to the trainees' methodologic interests. The training program is enhanced by journal clubs and clinical research conferences conducted by participating faculty; instruction in the responsible conduct of research; and a professional development series. The program will: 1) train clinicians to be rigorous and independent academic investigators able to use the range of approaches available in epidemiology to address research issues in neurology; 2) provide closely mentored research experiences with faculty preceptors in clinical epidemiology and neurologic medicine; and 3) strengthen the links between traditional epidemiology and neurology. Strengths of the proposed program are: 1) the long history of successful research training programs in the adult and pediatric neurology departments using the structure provided by the CCEB, including this training program; 2) the collaborative links that have been forged among faculty with interests in clinical research in neurology; 3) the comprehensive course offerings and research programs that are available to trainees; and 4) an extensive set of experienced and multidisciplinary faculty mentors with successful training records. The training program also brings together dozens of trainees from across all disciplines in medicine, which provides an ideal environment for collaborative learning and growth. Finally, The University of Pennsylvania and the Perelman School of Medicine promote an academic environment in which basic, clinical, and translational research are encouraged and viewed as attractive career paths for physicians.
There is a national shortage of qualified clinician-scientists with the skills to conduct the rigorous clinical research needed to address the most vexing population-based questions in neurology. Leveraging the efforts of a distinguished, experienced, and committed training program faculty, a rigorous curriculum of both didactic training and mentored research, and a world-class biomedical research environment, this training program provides trainees with the skills needed to design, conduct, and complete high-quality epidemiologic research in clinical neurology.
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