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Clinical Research Training Boosted by Grants

Pfizer Inc., a research-based health care company, recently committed $1.6 million over the next 2 years to the National Foundation for Biomedical Research to sponsor 16 clinical research training fellows at NIH. In addition, a grant from the Ruch family foundation in New York will support one fellow in the Clinical Research Training Program, which is a partnership developed between the foundation and NIH to attract medical students to clinical research early in their careers.

Pfizer donated $572,000 for support in the 1998-1999 year, and will support up to 15 students in the next 2 years, for a total of $1.6 million. The Ruch family -- the first donor to the program -- has committed $35,000 for the coming academic year in honor of Mrs. William McCormick Blair, Jr., a foundation board member.

Acknowledging the funds, NFBR chairman Dr. Charles A. Sanders, said, "There is an urgent need to maintain and to increase the number of young physicians entering the field of clinical research. With this generous grant from Pfizer, the foundation and the NIH will be launching a program that will assure the education and training of a talented pool of young clinical researchers for the future."

The program focuses on third-year medical and dental students and brings them to the NIH campus for a year of didactic and practical hands-on experience. The students are selected in a competitive process by an advisory committee of experts in clinical research. Students work in NIH labs and clinics and are mentored by senior clinical investigators. They also take a core course in clinical research and receive a stipend for living expenses and other support. They have the option of considering a second year, and two of the 17 for 1998-1999 are participants from a 1997-1998 pilot program with nine students.

Incorporated in 1996, the foundation supports the NIH mission through public-private partnerships and currently is launching initial programs focused primarily on education and training.

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