Our nation's ability to fully explore the ever-expanding opportunities for medical advances are limited only by our resources, the most important of which is the scientific workforce. To fulfill the promise of 21st century medicine and to make further progress in controlling major human diseases, we must cultivate and train a cadre of clinical researchers with skills that match the increasing complexity and needs of the research enterprise.
The Common Fund supported NIH Clinical Research Training Program (CRTP) is a 12-month, residential program designed to attract the most creative, research-oriented medical and dental students to the intramural campus of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland. It is a public-private partnership established in 1997 and supported jointly by the NIH and a grant to the Foundation for NIH from Pfizer Inc. In 2004 the CRTP doubled in size from 15 to 30 fellows annually, thanks to the support of the NIH Roadmap initiative, and has maintained this level subsequently.
Participants, known as fellows, spend a year engaged in a mentored clinical or translational research project in an area that matches their personal research interests and goals. One of the overall goals of the CRTP is to provide a training experience for the next generation of clinician-scientist to learn about translational research, that first step from the bench to the bedside and back to the bench. An individualized program is developed for fellows, who attend clinics, see patients on the wards, and work with a principal investigator in NIH laboratories on clinical and translational research projects. CRTP fellows attend lectures on clinical research and they participate in an interactive, group learning experience with the members of the class and leading NIH physicians and scientists.
The NIH CRTP also co-hosts an annual Clinical Investigator Student Trainee (CIST) Forum at the NIH for medical and dental students participating in clinical and translational research fellowships ("year-out" programs) at academic medical centers across the country. The goal of the CIST Forum is to enhance the development of a community of emerging clinician-scientists, to feature recent advances in clinical and translational research, to teach networking skills, and to provide career development resources. For more information regarding the CRTP, please visit the following website: http://www.cc.nih.gov/training/crtp/crtp.html.