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Clinical and translational research highlighted at retreat

Oct. 10, 2013, 10:28 AM

Among those attending last week’s retreat were, from left, Gordon Bernard, M.D., Nancy Brown, M.D., keynote speaker Kathleen Neuzil, M.D., MPH, Satish Raj, M.D., MSCI, William Cooper, M.D., MPH, and Katherine Hartmann, M.D., Ph.D. (photo by Steve Green)

Kathleen Neuzil, M.D., MPH, known internationally for her efforts to expand vaccine access and delivery around the world, credited her Vanderbilt University mentors last week for guiding her to a career path that allowed her to “make a difference.”

“I’m really awed by the type of support that’s given here to the junior faculty,” said Neuzil, who delivered the keynote address during Vanderbilt’s annual clinical and translational research retreat in Langford Auditorium.

After earning her M.D. from Johns Hopkins University, Neuzil spent 11 years at Vanderbilt, earning her Master’s degree in Public Health, completing residencies in internal medicine and infectious diseases, and serving briefly on the medical school faculty.

Former faculty member Barney Graham, M.D., Ph.D., now at the National Institutes of Health, taught her how to “ask the right questions,” she said. Marie Griffin, M.D., MPH, professor of Health Policy and Medicine, guided her toward health policy.

“Everything I ever learned, I learned at Vanderbilt,” said Neuzil, who now directs the global Vaccine Access and Delivery program for PATH, a non-profit health care organization based in Seattle.

“I learned to think critically,” she said. “I learned that partnerships, mentors, collaboration and teamwork are essential to everything we do. You have to challenge yourself and take some chances … You have to do what you love … And you have to keep at it.”

The retreat, which featured research presentations by several junior faculty and trainees, was organized by the Office of Clinical and Translational Scientist Development. It was presented by the Elliott Newman Society, the Translational Bridge, and by the Master of Science in Clinical Investigation (MSCI) and MPH programs.

In his introductory remarks at the retreat, Gordon Bernard, M.D., associate vice chancellor for Research, said faculty members at or below the assistant professor level have received more than $6 million in internal pilot grants since Vanderbilt received its Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) in 2007.

Just in the past four years, more than 400 unique new projects have been launched. Quoting an official from another institution, Bernard concluded: “Vanderbilt … exemplifies the way CTSAs ought to be.”

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