New Program Proceeds Quickly
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In November 1996, the clinical research panel that advises NIH director Dr. Harold Varmus recommended establishing a medical student clinical research training program at NIH as one of a number of ways to reinvigorate clinical research. An advisory committee was formed to create the program's framework and curriculum. By early January 1997, deans of the country's top medical schools had been contacted to get the word out to interested third-year students. The deadline for applications was in mid-February, by which time a board of tutors composed of 15 senior clinical investigators at NIH had been assigned the task of reviewing and selecting entrants.
The board examined more than 75 applications and chose the top 20 for interviews that were held in March. Fourteen interviewees were selected; nine accepted NIH's invitation to join the first CRTP class. Each student was assigned a tutor, who will provide assistance in the selection of a mentor to guide the training experience.
Participants hail from schools as close as the Medical College of Virginia to UCLA, and several -- including the University of Kansas and the University of Nebraska -- in between. They will do research on such subjects as surgical neurology, orthopedics, rheumatology, cardiovascular disease and critical care medicine side by side with their mentors while on campus.
"We are very excited about the prospect of having these students at the NIH and our clinical researchers are looking forward to working with them," says Dr. Michael Gottesman, NIH deputy director for intramural research, whose office -- including the NIH Office of Education -- handled the logistics of developing the program.
CRTP scholars will receive predoctoral intramural research training award fellowships supported by their mentors. In addition to training assignments, they will take NIH's core course in clinical research, offered annually by the Clinical Center. The first CRTP class will stay for 1 year, with a possible 1-year extension. Six of the students live in the newly renovated NIH director's house on campus.
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