Education Program Issue

CTSA Mentoring Trial Sites

CTSA Mentoring Trial Sites

As YCCI moves into the next five years of its Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA), we have a good opportunity to highlight one of our foundational programs: Education and Training. Addressing one of the primary missions of the Center, this program offers clinical and translational research training and career development opportunities for students and investigators at all levels.

One of our overarching goals has been to provide mentoring and guidance to young investigators. During the past year, we participated in a 16-site CTSA randomized mentoring trial spearheaded by the University of Wisconsin. Mentors were assigned to either an intervention group that took part in five two-hour training sessions or a control group that received no training. The sessions were led by Eugene Shapiro, MD; Patrick O'Connor, MD, newly appointed associate director of YCCI's T3 translational research core; and Jo Handelsman, PhD, who recently received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring.

Despite the significant time commitment involved in mentoring, very little attention is usually given to training faculty for this important role. Participants in the intervention group responded enthusiastically to the opportunity to interact with peers and discuss strategies for dealing with issues that arise. Although the results of the trial have not yet been published, the response was so positive that YCCI will be offering the training sessions to anyone who is interested beginning in fall 2012.

The past year has also seen the expansion of the successful Research- in-Progress meetings to include trainees from the Medical Research Scholars Program (MRSP), an initiative from Yale's Combined Program in Biological and Biomedical Sciences (BBS) aimed at helping graduate students in the life sciences enter careers in medical research. These meetings are an opportunity for trainees to present their research and receive feedback in an open environment conducive to discussion.

We've also incorporated ethics topics into these meetings, inviting experts to lead general discussions that apply to a wide range of research areas as well as to address specific concerns related to a particular research project.

Year Six of the CTSA grant is off to an equally productive start, with an international meeting of scholars and mentors at a workshop held at the Wellcome Trust in London and the first- time expansion of our annual scholar retreat program to include an event for all trainees in the Schools of Medicine, Nursing, and Public Health. We hope that many of you will avail yourselves of these opportunities, and we look forward to your participation.