July 24, 2009

Grant aids clinical research training

Grant aids clinical research training

The largest of the NIH stimulus grants received by Vanderbilt, $3 million, will be used to expand an international clinical research fellowship program coordinated through the Vanderbilt University Institute for Global Health.

The grant will support a year of mentored clinical research training in the developing world for an additional 23 research fellows — U.S. citizens with M.D. and/or Ph.D. degrees — over the next 18 months.

Ten fellows will be able to continue their projects for a second year.

Additional stimulus funding will be used to enhance logistical support for the program, and to put on a major conference on global health research, said Sten Vermund, M.D., Ph.D., the institute's director.

In 2003, the Fogarty International Center of the NIH established a program in global health research for U.S. graduate students, called “scholars,” who were matched with trainees from the host countries. Vanderbilt was named the program's support center in 2007, and last year the program was expanded to include post-doctoral fellows.

During the past five years, 370 scholars and fellows from all over the world have participated in the Fogarty International Clinical Research Scholars and Fellows program. They have published scientific papers and are helping to develop clinical research programs in the countries in which they trained.

“The goal of the scholars and fellows program is to nurture a new generation of global health research leaders,” Vermund said. “This (stimulus funding) will put a lot of clinical fellows and postdoctoral fellows to work.”