Emory Report

August 23, 1999

 Volume 52, No. 1

NIH grant supports Emory clinical research training program

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has chosen Emory as one of 35 institutions to receive a total of $7 million in grants designated as K-30 awards to improve clinical research training. The grant to Emory of $200,000 over five years will help support the new Master of Science in Clinical Research Program launched last fall by Emory's Schools of Medicine and Public Health.

Emory's new collaborative program was created in response to a national shortage of skilled investigators in clinical research as well as internal interest in advanced training. The program is designed to prepare Emory physicians and other clinical investigators, especially senior postdoctoral fellows and young faculty, for careers as clinical research scientists. Graduates of the two-year program will receive the master of science in clinical research degree from the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

Led by David Stephens, professor of medicine and microbiology and immunology, and John Boring, professor of epidemiology, the master's program consists of approximately three semesters of courses in biostatistics, bioethics, analytic methods and essentials of clinical research. A mentored thesis project will follow in such fields as mechanisms of human disease, epidemiologic and behavior studies, outcomes research or health services research.

The 1997 Nathan Report, issued by the NIH Directors' Panel, revealed a significant drop in the number of skilled clinical investigators nationally and a decline in applications for NIH clinical research grants. The panel found that MD and MD/PhD scientists compare unfavorably to PhD investigators in successfully receiving NIH awards in clinical research. Responding to the panel's recommendation to strengthen the training of clinical researchers, the NIH established competitive grants for two-year clinical research training programs like Emory's as well as individual (K-23 and K-24) awards for young and mid-level clinical investigators.

"The awarding of the NIH K-30 grant is an important milestone in establishing career pathways for clinical investigators at Emory," said Stephens.

The first three physicians in the Emory master's program began last fall, joined by two more in the spring. About 10 are expected to begin the program this fall, with the goal of admitting 15 to 20 each year. The program is designed for participants who hold MD or MD/PhD degrees and for other recipients of a doctoral degree who have demonstrated a commitment to clinical research and would benefit from formal training.

More information about the master of science program is available at the program's web site at <http:// www.sph. emory.edu/CRCA>.

A reception for the Clinical Research Curriculum Award Program will be held Thursday, Sept. 16, in the Terrace Room of Houston Mill House at 5:30 p.m.

--Holly Korschun

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