E-mail: bgao@mail.nih.gov

NIH clinical trials Training

Background:

The National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) Clinical Research Training Program (CRTP) is a 12-month enrichment program designed for highly qualified, research-oriented medical or dental students interested in learning about the principles and practice of clinical and translational investigation. Participants learn about clinical research design, data analysis, bioethics, how to critically review the medical literature, and other topics; however, the bulk of their time at NIH is spent conducting mentored clinical or translational research in an area that matches their academic interests and career goals.

CRTP fellows develop individualized learning plans under the direction of NIH clinician-scientists. Learning is facilitated through work with principal investigators in NIH intramural laboratories and clinical areas at the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, Md. Fellows augment their research experiences through seminars and journal clubs with peers and interaction with patients enrolled in investigational protocols at the NIH.

Future Direction:

The CRTP is hosting its last class during the 2011-2012 academic year. Since the inception of the program in 1997, the CRTP has trained more than 310 medical, and dental students in 15 different NIH institutes/centers on the intramural campus of the NIH in Bethesda, Md.

Former NIH Director Dr. Harold Varmus instituted the program to provide creative, research-oriented students with an opportunity to become involved in clinical research early in their careers. From 1998 it was supported jointly by the NIH and the Foundation for the NIH through grants from Pfizer Inc as part of the company’s commitment to public-private partnerships. In 2004, the program was expanded to accept 30 students a year thanks to support through the NIH Common Fund (formerly the NIH Roadmap) as part of its Re-engineering the Clinical Research Enterprise initiative. Information about the CRTP’s 10-year anniversary is online.

A new training opportunity will begin in the summer of 2012. The NIH Medical Research Scholars Program builds on the focus and goals of the CRTP and the HHMI-NIH Research Scholars Program of training the next generation of medical researchers and providing research opportunities in basic laboratory, clinical, and translational research for medical, dental, and veterinary students. Online applications for the 2013-2014 class of the NIH Medical Research Scholars Program will be accepted from October 1, 2012, to January 15, 2013.

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