Registration for the July 29th kick-off webinar for the Insights to Inspire (I2I) 2020 series is now open. Insights to Inspire (I2I) 2020 highlights those CTSA hubs who have made improvements in their Careers in Clinical Translational Research metric. The first webinar focuses on diversity and inclusion. Three hubs will present their strategies that lead to their success: the University of Wisconsin, Duke University and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai.
The purpose of the CTSA Careers in Clinical and Translational Research metric is to measure and develop strategic plans to enhance the ways CTSA hubs and the entire CTSA Program consortium are training and supporting the future workforce. This support is vital to helping trainees remain engaged in clinical and translational science. One of the earliest opportunities hubs have to support early-career trainees and scholars is when researchers first apply to the TL1 Clinical Research Training Awards and KL2 Mentored Clinical Research Scholar Awards programs.
For the 2020 Insights to Inspire Series, the Common Metrics Initiative identified hubs that demonstrated the most success in the careers metric for 2017-2018 in order to share the strategies and approaches that worked for them with the rest of the consortium.
The Icahn School of Medicine was one of the top four hubs that had particular success in the application process. Following are some strategies found to be most impactful.
Janice Gabrilove, one of two career development leads at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Institutes for Translational Sciences, said “the hub’s TL1 postdoctoral program entitled the Sinai Team-based Translational Education Program: the URM Propeller (STTEP-UP) Initiative in Science and Medicine elected to focus exclusively on stellar Under Represented Individuals in Medicine and Science (URiMS) applicants with significant potential for clinical and translational science (CTS) research careers.” The goal of this pipeline program was to enhance recruitment and retention of talented URiMS candidates who will ultimately serve as faculty role models. She also indicated, “in the long run, our pipeline program will begin to advance the compelling need to diversify the CTS workforce and address the paucity of URiMS mid-career and senior faculty.”
Funded in March in 2015, our NRSA TL1 training program was designed to address the need to train CTS researchers at both the pre-doctoral and postdoctoral level. Our educational programs were designed to address two specific needs identified by the 2014 NIH Directors Physician Scientist Task Force: 1) diversification of the CTS Workforce; and 2) medical student methodologic training in clinical research.
Our NRSA TL1 pre-doctoral medical student CTS training program, where by students have the ability to earn a joint MD/MSCR degree, is built upon our previously established Patient Oriented Research Training And Leadership (PORTAL) MD/MSCR program. To further advance the diversity agenda at this stage of career development, we created a new entry point into the program, following completion of the first year of medical school, as opposed to entering at the time of initial application to medical school. Our initial focus on recruiting candidates with prior clinical research experience at the time of medical school application limited our ability to attract individuals from more diverse and socioeconomically disadvantage backgrounds, who may not have had the luxury of doing research before coming to medical school. By focusing on individuals already in medical school and who have completed the first year, we sought to encourage individuals from a range of diverse ethnic, racial, socioeconomic. backgrounds, to consider opportunities to pursue clinical research as a part of their career development.
As detailed above, the NRSA TL1 postdoctoral program, is a one year CTS research training program for talented URiMS. To optimize recruitment, we leveraged a number of institutional partnerships. Some of these partnerships include: the Dean and Office of Graduate Medical Education (GME), with whom we identified a pool of more than 300 potential URiMS candidates among the clinical postdoctoral trainee pool; the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, and Eric Nestler, the Dean for Academic and Scientific Affairs and Director of The Friedman Brain Institute, who previously established a major initiative in the Department of Neuroscience to foster and advance an diversity agenda.
The TL1 Postdoctoral CTS research training program leadership team additionally leveraged the capabilities, know-how and commitment to biostatistical training for diverse candidates, established by Emma Benn, PhD, Assistant Professor of Population Health Science and Policy and Emilia Bagiella, PhD, Director, Center for Biostatistics, to advance career development of URiMS candidates in CTS methodology. Drs Benn and Bagiella previously established an online, Applied Statistics IOn Biological Systems (ASIBS), short course program. Informed by a knowledgeable advisory board, ASIBS has consistently recruited participants from diverse (50%) backgrounds. For our STTEP-UP Initiative in Science and Medicine we therefore benefited from their expertise.
In summary, we intentionally aligned our TL1 training programs with nationally identified unmet needs and focused our efforts, in partnership with institutional expertise on the advancement of a diversified CTS workforce through these innovative pre-doctoral and postdoctoral training programs.
ConduITS is supported by NCATS of the NIH’s CTSA Program. Any use of CTSA-supported resources requires citation of grant number UL1TR001433 awarded to ISMMS in the acknowledgment section of every publication resulting from this support. Adherence to the NIH Public Access Policy is also required.