CONTACT: BECKY SOGLIN
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 335-6660; fax (319) 335-8034
Release: Dec. 12, 2000
UI receives NIH grant to promote clinical research training for clinicians
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Managed care, increased health care competition and higher
levels of indebtedness following training have made it increasingly difficult
for health care professionals to devote adequate time to clinical research
projects and to apply for funding. However, a new University of Iowa health
sciences program aims to change that by providing interdisciplinary clinical
research training to UI post-doctoral fellows and selected junior faculty.
Recently funded by a nearly $1 million, five-year renewable National Institutes
of Health (NIH) grant, the UI Graduate Training Program in Clinical Investigation
is recruiting trainees to begin next summer. The program includes hands-on
research experiences specifically tailored to each trainee and mentoring by
established clinical research faculty with active research programs and peer-reviewed
funding in the UI Colleges of Medicine, Public Health, Nursing, Dentistry,
Pharmacy, and Liberal Arts. The project also involves research settings in
the UI Division of General Internal Medicine in the Department of Internal
Medicine, the UI General Clinical Research Center, the UI Preventive Intervention
Center and the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Iowa City.
The program is designed to help physicians, nurses, dentists, pharmacists
and psychologists become well trained and experienced in clinical epidemiology
and health services research, said program director Brad Doebbeling, M.D.,
UI associate professor of internal medicine and epidemology.
"Over the past 10 years, there has been a marked decline nationwide
in the number of clinical investigators actually doing research, while federal
support for biomedical research has been increasing," Doebbeling said.
"The NIH and other experts recognize the need to better prepare clinical
researchers for academic careers in order to be successful in conducting excellent,
clinically important studies."
Approximately 10 fellows will be accepted into the first class. They will
learn how to design and implement studies and explore the spectrum of research
that ranges from patient-oriented research, which involves small groups of
patients, to population-oriented and health services research involving large
groups of patients. Clinical research includes such areas as improving diagnostic
techniques, assessing an innovative treatment or studying factors that influence
the effective delivery and outcome of health care.
Doebbeling said the NIH grant develops a series of new training experiences
and brings together and enhances different existing opportunities in the UI
health sciences that were not previously available to clinical research trainees.
Robert F. Woolson, Ph.D., UI professor and head of biostatistics and associate
dean for research in the College of Public Health, will help lead that college's
contribution to the program's core research methodology training in epidemiology,
evaluation, health services and biostatistics. Program participants will have
the option to earn one of several master's degrees designed to specifically
train them in clinical research methods.
"This clinical research training program strengthens ties among the
university's health science colleges and supports the university's aim to
develop an excellent interdisciplinary program in clinical research,"
Woolson said. "A variety of new training experiences and formal degree
options will be open to trainees and will provide a strong base from which
new clinical research initiatives can be developed."
"Dr. Doebbeling is an experienced investigator and research mentor
who is uniquely trained in internal medicine, epidemiology and health services
research to lead this program," he added.
In addition to Doebbeling and Woolson, the project's executive committee
includes J. Jackson Barnette, Ph.D., associate professor of community and
behavioral health and associate dean for education and student affairs in
the College of Public Health; Gary E. Rosenthal, M.D., associate professor
of internal medicine and director of the division of general internal medicine;
James C. Torner, Ph.D., professor and head of epidemiology; and Toni Tripp-Reimer,
Ph.D., professor of nursing and anthropology and associate dean for research
in the College of Nursing. Doebbeling and Rosenthal are also staff physicians
and researchers at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Iowa City.
"Many of us think that clinical investigators are uniquely positioned
to move research forward," Doebbeling said. "It is a crucial time
to provide the best training for post-doctoral trainees in clinical research
methods and the hands-on experience and careful mentoring that will help ensure
our trainees' success."
Allyn L. Mark, M.D., Roy J. Carver Professor of Internal Medicine and associate
dean for research and graduate programs in the UI College of Medicine noted,
"A decline in the numbers and morale of clinicians who have the training
and time to conduct patient-oriented research and apply basic research discoveries
to the prevention and treatment of human disease poses a serious threat to
the future of medical care at the very time when basic research holds unparalleled
"This program, led capably by Dr. Brad Doebbeling and involving all
of our health science colleges, represents an important step in addressing
this challenge," Mark added.
University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between
the UI College of Medicine and the UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient
care, medical education and research programs and services they provide.