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University of Iowa News

Oct. 10, 2005

NIH Renews Grant For Clinical Research Career Development At UI

The University of Iowa Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine has been awarded a five-year, $1.5 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to continue support of the Iowa Scholars in Clinical Investigation (ISCI) Program.

The funding renewal will allow the UI to enhance programs for training physicians, dentists, pharmacists, nurses and psychologists for careers in clinical research. The program already has trained more than 50 clinicians, many of whom have successfully obtained their own independent research funding.

The award will help establish new curricula in clinical research methods, research ethics and academic survival skills. The funding also will expand opportunities for participants to receive research mentoring.

The program involves a strong collaboration among the UI Carver College of Medicine, the UI College of Public Health (which will support much of the curricular needs of grant trainees) and the UI Colleges of Nursing, Pharmacy and Dentistry.

The ISCI Program is led by Gary Rosenthal, M.D. (right), professor of internal medicine, director of the UI Division of General Internal Medicine and director of the Center for Research in the Implementation of Innovative Strategies in Practice at the Veterans Affairs (VA) Iowa City Health Care System. Rosenthal has conducted leading research on improving health care delivery and mentored many postdoctoral fellows and junior faculty.

He noted that a major strength of the UI proposal was its focus on providing training experiences in an interdisciplinary manner.

"Developing successful clinical research programs is increasingly dependent on incorporating experimental approaches from a wide range of research methodologies and bringing together investigators from different clinical disciplines," Rosenthal said. "Creating a climate that supports investigators with very different professional perspectives will be extremely important in research initiatives emanating from the NIH and other funding agencies."

The ISCI Program is co-directed by David Katz, M.D. (left), UI associate professor of general internal medicine and epidemiology and a staff physician with the VA Iowa City. Katz said the award fills an important gap in the training of clinical investigators.

"Being successful in clinical research requires training in a range of disciplines, good mentorship and a supportive research environment for trainees," he said. "Given the intense competition for federal research awards, new investigators must be well trained in research methods and critical review of the medical literature. In addition, they need excellent communication skills."

The program has begun recruiting trainees for 2006. A majority of recruits will likely come from clinical training programs in the UI health sciences colleges. However, the new program also will actively recruit trainees from other institutions nationally.

James Torner, Ph.D. (right), professor and head of epidemiology, is playing a large role in the program design. He noted, "The award will allow us to attract the best and brightest young clinicians who are interested in careers in clinical research. We also will build our cadre of well-trained clinical investigators.

"Because of the intense competition for successful senior faculty researchers, a key strategy for many universities is to grow capacity through internal training programs and by nurturing individuals who show potential early in their research careers," he added.

Allyn Mark, M.D. (left), senior associate dean and associate dean for research in the UI Carver College of Medicine, said the program will be an important element in the university's overall plan to translate basic research findings into new treatments and to translate clinical evidence into routine practice.

"Nationally, tremendous focus is being placed on how best to translate bench discoveries into meaningful therapies and diagnostic modalities that benefit patients. Everyone acknowledges that a fundamental barrier to translation is the availability of well-trained clinical scientists," Mark said.

For more information on the Iowa Scholars in Clinical Investigation Program, contact Gary Rosenthal at 319-356-4241 or

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Health Science Relations, 5137 Westlawn, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1178

MEDIA CONTACT: Becky Soglin, 319 335-6660


David Katz:

Allyn Mark:

Gary Rosenthal:

James Torner: