The program for Mentored Clinical Research is a division-supported initiative whose primary goal is to support the growth and development of nephrology trainees interested in pursuing extended training in patient-oriented research within a structured and challenging environment. Coordinated by Edward D. Siew, MD, MSCI, the program will facilitate the early identification of trainees with the potential for and interest in clinical research, primary mentors both within and outside of the division with common thematic interest and/or a methodologic expertise in the area of interest, facilitate application to institutional programs that offer formal training in clinical research, and monitor progress.
Program entry will occur at the beginning of the 2nd year of fellowship (3rd year for trainees also enrolled in the transplant fellowship) and is expected to last 2-4 years; however, prospective trainees will be identified and encouraged to meet with Dr. Siew during their clinical year to facilitate a more timely and effective transition. During the first 6 months of the research training, emphasis will be placed on learning fundamental methodologies in clinical research including, but not limited to, study design, biostatistics, data acquisition, and data analysis provided by the mentor and statistical consultant. As part of this early experience, the trainee will also be expected to apply to either the Masters of Science in Clinical Investigation Program (MSCI) or Masters of Public Health (MPH) Programs available through Vanderbilt University Medical Center to provide formal didactic training and structured foundation to perform methodologically sound research. Support for these programs will be provided by the Division of Nephrology as available and initial salary support will be provided by the T32 Divisional training program. The ensuing 2-3 years will be devoted to the further development of the clinical investigator including progress in the primary research project, publication and presentations, with primary oversight being provided by the trainee’s Mentoring Committee in collaboration with the primary mentor. Trainees will be expected to apply for available intra- and extra-mural funding during this time frame with the goal of successfully competing for a career development awarded (K12, K23, VA Career Development Award, etc.). The final component of the mentoring plan is establishing independence clinical investigator. While extraordinary clinical investigators may obtain independent research support early in their careers, bridge funding, such as a mentored research career award between early career and independent research will normally be pursued.