Recently in Education and Training Category

CRC Orientation screen shot-Recruitment course.pngCoordinators who support clinical research teams at the U of M and Fairview have new resources to help them be more successful, thanks to expansions to the Clinical Research Coordinator (CRC) Orientation program.

The online training program now offers a new course about recruiting research participants (shown above), to help coordinators more effectively attract volunteers for clinical trials, and ensure they have a positive experience.

"Recruiting patients is vital to a trial's success, and sites invest a significant amount of time and resources on recruitment activities. I'm very exited about the development of the CRC Orientation program's latest course, which is designed to provide CRCs with the skills, training, and real-world examples that can help them more effectively recruit and retain research participants," says Denise Windenburg, Program Director of the U of M's Cardiovascular research team. Windenburg collaborates on the training program with other content experts and the Clinical and Translational Science Institute.

Other new program features include an online forum that allows the U of M and Fairview CRC community to discover, share, and discuss resources, as well as digital badges that enable CRCs to showcase training progress, such as on their LinkedIn profile.

Recruitment is one of many courses included in the module, which addresses a wide range of topics, from good clinical practice and research ethics to policies and regulatory considerations. Courses can be taken anytime, anywhere, and are free to CRCs at the U of M.

"We originally created the CRC Orientation program to help drive high-quality research, while also supporting the career development of the coordinators who are critical to a clinical study's success," says Michelle Lamere, assistant director for CTSI's Education, Training, and Research Career Development function (CTSI-Ed). "We continuously add new features to keep delivering on this promise, and respond to the evolving needs of the CRC community."

The Clinical and Translational Science Institute developed and manages this program, while CRC experts and research managers serve as content experts, including for the new recruitment-focused course.

Visit the CRC Orientation page to learn more. To enroll, email crctrain@umn.edu or visit the CRC Orientation Moodle page (requires U of M login).

Two additional new members have been accepted into the Clinical and Translational Science Institute's research career development programs. These programs provide a career development infrastructure that supports junior investigators as they build independent research careers and pursue federal grants.

Drs. Lucie Turcotte and Alexa Pragman will start their respective programs on Sept. 1, along with several other recent awardees.

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The New Investigator Pre-K Career Development Program provides mentorship, training, and funds to new investigators interested in clinical and translational research. The program is designed to prepare investigators to successfully compete for NIH K career development awards.

Lucie Turcotte, MD, Department of Pediatrics
Project title: The Role of the Immune System in Development of Cardiometabolic Syndrome Among Survivors of Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation
Primary mentor: Michael Verneris, MD

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The KL2 Scholars Career Development Program is designed to develop the next generation of clinical investigators through a structured training program with a mentored, multidisciplinary clinical research emphasis, salary support, and research funds. This three-year program aims to place junior investigators on the path to be competitive for NIH K- or R-series awards.

Alexa Pragman, MD, PhD, Department of Medicine
Project title: Evaluation of the Lung Microbiota and Inflammation in the Progression of COPD
Primary mentor: Christine H. Wendt, MD

Mentorship. Resources. Educational seminars. These are just a few things that came to mind when we asked researchers how the Clinical and Translational Science Institute helped them be more successful.

In our latest video, two scholars in CTSI career development programs talk about how CTSI impacted their research careers:

Resources that advance research
Tetyana Shippee, PhD, a CTSI KL2 Scholar and Assistant Professor in the School of Public Health says she would not be able to do the kind of research she's doing without support from CTSI. She adds:

"My CTSI experience is vital for me in being able to do this kind of work, not just because of getting the resources and time, but also the proper mentorship and support. I really appreciate the opportunities and resources that CTSI has given me."

Dr. Shippee's research focuses on identifying and understanding what contributes to quality of life for older adults in long-term care settings. She partnered with the Department of Human Services to move forward with her project, which examined how facility and resident characteristics correlate to quality of life domains, which range from environment to personal attention.

Her goal is to design an intervention to improve quality of life for nursing home residents through better engagement and relationships with staff. She sees many opportunities to translate her findings, noting in her poster session abstract:

"While there is substantial research on quality of care in nursing homes, less is known about what contributes to quality of life for nursing home residents. A clear understanding of what impacts quality of life can inform policy and practice to improve resident well-being."

Momentum from mentorship
CTSI F&T Scholar David Knorr, MD, PhD, a Medical School trainee, also stressed the importance of having research mentors, a perk that all CTSI scholars receive:

"To me, it's all about mentorship. Somewhere along the way, you need somebody to provide that support, that advice, and the encouragement. Through the mentorship and funding from the CTSI F&T Trainee Program, I've been able to do translational research projects."

Dr. Knorr's research efforts focus on evaluating the immune response against influenza following bone marrow transplants. While such transplants can cure leukemia, patients remain susceptible to life-threatening infections for months to years afterwards. Vaccinations can provide some protection against viruses such as influenza, but a better understanding of why transplant recipients respond poorly is needed.

As Knorr notes in his poster session abstract, "Studying why some transplant recipients respond to influenza vaccination while others do not is critical to improving current clinical care."

CTSI is now accepting applications for two programs aimed at supporting translational researchers. The new Pediatric Medical Device Translational Grant Program will support the development of pediatric medical devices, while the KL2 Scholars Career Development Program will support U of M junior faculty investigators.

Pediatric Medical Device Translational Grant Program
This funding program supports the development of pediatric medical devices, with the ultimate goal of improving pediatric patient outcomes and quality of life through technology-driven medical solutions. The program's partners, CTSI's Office of Discovery and Translation (ODAT) and the Pediatric Device Innovation Consortium (PDIC), will provide funded investigators with work strategy guidance, frequent feedback, and access to comprehensive internal and external services. ODAT and PDIC anticipate funding up to three projects, awarding each a maximum of $50,000 for one year. Mandatory letters of intent are due April 10, 2014. Learn more and apply.

KL2 Scholars Career Development Program
This career development program provides mentorship, training, and funds to assistant professors (rank ≤ 6 years) conducting clinical and translational research. Up to one awardee will receive 75% salary support, up to $26,000 per year in research and travel funds for three years, training, and ongoing support from mentors and CTSI's Research Education, Training, and Career Development team. The structured training program aims to help awarded investigators be more successful, equipping them with skills to chart their academic career path, secure extramural funding, and pursue scholarly publications. Applications are due May 15, 2014 by 5pm. Learn more and apply.


The Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) has released a new video in which two U of M faculty researchers - Drs. Bhargava and Shlafer - talk about how CTSI has helped them be more successful.

Maneesh Bhargava, MD, is an assistant professor with the U of M's Department of Medicine and a CTSI K to RO1 Scholar who's studying biomarkers that can predict outcomes in acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). "CTSI has had a huge impact on my career," says Dr. Bhargava, citing how CTSI helped him protect his time so he can devote most of his time to research. He also notes benefiting from CTSI's support on study design and statistics, as well as the weekly seminars he attends as a CTSI scholar.

The video also features Rebecca Shlafer, PhD, an assistant professor at the U of M's Department of Pediatrics and a CTSI KL2 Scholar. Dr. Shlafer's research focuses on incarcerated parents in Minnesota and their minor children. In the video, she describes how she benefits from CTSI's "intentional link with community partners," as well as mentors who have helped her with everything from survey development to distilling her research for a conference at the White House.

Drs. Bhargava and Shlafer are part of CTSI career development programs that provide support via mentorship, training, and funds.