There is a recognized need to translate scientific discoveries to patient-oriented clinical research (POCR) in order to improve human health. To overcome obstacles that interfere with the recruitment and retention of physicians for POCR careers, in 2003 the American Society of Hematology (ASH) developed the Clinical Research Training Institute (CRTI), an enhanced and extensive mentored experience for early career POCR investigators. The ASH CRTI is limited to 20 trainees/year (senior fellows or junior faculty) with an equivalent number of faculty mentors. The year-long Institute includes a 1 week workshop with didactic sessions on a variety of POCR and career development topics, disease-specific small group sessions focusing on research protocol development with biostatistician participation, and one-on-one interactions with faculty and representatives with expertise in career-development awards from the U.S. National Institutes of Health. Trainees have additional interactions with their small groups and CRTI mentors throughout the ensuing year to promote career development and research collaborations. Communications between the trainees’ CRTI and home institution mentors are a vital component of the program. Evaluation of the POCR career development successes of the first 7 CRTI classes (140 trainees) was performed by reviewing trainees’ curriculum vitaes and their responses to an electronically distributed survey. Gender, racial and ethnic distributions were similar to that of U.S. Hematology/Oncology fellowship programs. The majority (66%) of trainees were senior fellows or graduates of adult hematology/oncology training programs, 31% of pediatric hematology/oncology programs and the remainder of other hematology-related programs. Eighty-six percent of trainees had self-described success establishing a POCR study and 85% considered themselves clinical investigators. Nearly half of trainees had positions that were primarily research focused. CRTI trainees received at least 144 external grant awards plus additional internal awards, and had published 1035 peer-reviewed manuscripts,173 chapters and 115 review articles. Over 95% of trainees were satisfied with their CRTI experience and testimonials supported their impression that CRTI had a significant impact on their career success. Enhancements introduced into the CRTI program, as a result of ongoing program evaluations, include broadening participant eligibility to include up to 5 international trainees per class to enhance global research collaborations and further enhancements to the trainee-mentor interactions. The outcomes of the ASH CRTI support the hypothesis that enhanced mentoring experiences contribute to the successful career development of physicians pursuing POCR careers.
Clayton:American Society of Hematology: Employment.
Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.