TEACH empowers, enhances research learning
by Cindy Abole
MUSC researchers interested in conducting clinical and translational
research now have a resource to connect with others and participate in
a variety of planned, innovative educational and mentoring
opportunities. The program is a new source available with the South
Carolina Clinical & Translational Research Institute (SCTR).
SCTR’s Training, Education and Career Home (TEACH) core was established
to give MUSC’s research community the opportunity to gain new knowledge
and develop skills and experiences in the areas of clinical and
translational research by consolidating educational programs with
available resources. Acquiring new research expertise and developing
contemporary skill sets is a continuing challenge for budding junior
faculty as well as seasoned researchers committed to the development of
new discoveries and treatments in medicine through clinical
translational research, according to the National Institutes of Health
MUSC is among 60 funded academic medical research institutions across
the country awarded the Clinical Translational Science Award from the
National Center for Research Resources, a division of the NIH, to
develop programs and training for researchers to connect to clinical
trials and other resources that advance medical discoveries and
“At SCTR TEACH, we recognize that researchers desire different levels
of training intensity,” said Tom Hulsey, Sc.D., SCTR TEACH director.
“We are providing an array of educational and career development
opportunities that promote productivity at whatever level they choose.
Therefore, as they improve in their skills and knowledge; the more
productive and successful they are in their academic career.
Ultimately, this translates into improved patient outcomes.”
Like the CTSA network, SCTR TEACH brings together existing educational
research activities on campus such as the Core Clinical Research
Training (CCRT) program for research coordinators; the Southeastern
Predoctoral Training in Clinical Research program (SPTCR);
Institutional Clinical & Translational K12 Scholars Program; Master
of Science in Clinical Research (MSCR) in the College of Graduate
Studies; Society of Clinical Research and Translational Early
Scientists (SOCRATES); and new programs such as the Society of Mentors,
Annual Mentor Symposium and Searchable Mentor Database; plus seminars,
workshops and other short courses.
To help disseminate information for ongoing MUSC educational
opportunities, TEACH organizers developed an online calendar tool
(available on the SCTR Web site) that allows campuswide colleges and
departments to submit and list information about upcoming training
programs, classes, workshops, seminars and educational/mentoring
experiences. The programs represent different levels of intensity and
effort that are available to participants. TEACH trainees also are
encouraged to attend sessions outside of their area of expertise to
promote collaboration and foster interdisciplinary team research
opportunities. For example, an Internal Medicine physician may choose
to attend an hour-long seminar or grand round sponsored by the
Department of Otolaryngology versus committing to an afternoon workshop.
The calendar tool has opened the door to enhancing additional programs
and outreach to qualified candidates. Soon, the CCRT and MSCR programs
will transition to include more online options, according to Hulsey.
This will benefit participants who can’t physically attend class and
allow them to search for topics or a specific lecture using a growing
“We’re following the national movement of moving away from teaching the
traditional independent researcher to preparing an interdependent
researcher focused on Team Science —an individual who can communicate
and lead a team of research specialists and patients, plus mentor
others in the process,” said Hulsey.
Other valuable SCTR opportunities include involvement in ongoing
clinical and translational research projects, workshops and structured
mentored rotation experiences throughout campus.
Carol Wagner, M.D., a neonatologist in the Department of Pediatrics,
directs a month-long, mentored clinical research elective, offered in
September and February, working in MUSC’s Clinical and Translational
Research Center (formerly GCRC), that may be an option for doctoral
trainees (physicians, Medical Scientist Training Program [MSTP] and
dental MSTP students/fellows). Another new program is the development
of the Society of Clinical Research and Translational Early Scientists
(SOCRATES), directed by Marc Chimowitz, M.D., associate dean for
faculty in the College of Medicine, to support faculty career
development. This program was established to assist early career
investigators, MSCR graduates, and junior faculty.
SOCRATES provides a forum for junior researchers to improve grant
proposals, career development and networking with MSCR program
participants and interested research faculty. In September, Hulsey and
Chimowitz will lead a campuswide retreat to help establish a SCTR TEACH
College of Mentors, composed of active senior researchers to mentor and
work with junior researchers on campus.
TEACH activities will constantly be reviewed for feedback and
improvements as suggested by participants, organizers, campus
leadership and sometimes, national leadership. The aim is to find
commonality in content among training programs and establish core
competencies. Organizers also are challenged to maintain protected time
for junior investigators regarding research education and training to
help them stay fresh and competitive.
“We want our six colleges, their faculty, and their trainees to know
that clinical research—and more specifically the resources provided by
SCTR TEACH —are not isolated to one profession or approach. No single
program can meet the diverse needs of the university. We hope this
program builds a strong esprit de corps within clinical research
training and mentoring across campus,” Hulsey said.
For information, visit http://sctr.musc.edu/index.php/education/sctr-education-program-teach.
Friday, Aug. 28, 2009