Grant Abstract: Research Training in Maternal, Infant & Child Nutrition

Grant Number: 2T32HD007445-11A1
PI Name: William Heird
Project Title: Research Training in Maternal, Infant & Child Nutrition

Abstract: DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Continued support for a multidisciplinary postdoctoral training program in research related to maternal, infant and childhood nutrition for individuals with either an MD or a Ph.D. degree is requested. Centered at the USDA/ARS Children's Nutrition Research Center (CNRC), but including other research activities at Baylor College of Medicine, the program provides in-depth training in both basic and clinical research relevant to maternal, infant and/or childhood nutrition. A major goal of the program is to enhance interaction between MD and Ph.D. trainees thus making the MD trainees more cognizant of basic science issues and the Ph.D. trainees more cognizant of applied nutrition problems, thereby enhancing the likelihood of continued collaboration between these two groups. MDs enter the training program following clinical training in a variety of disciplines either at Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) or elsewhere; Ph.Ds enter directly from their graduate program or from another postdoctoral program. The major training method is a research preceptorship but a series of courses, conferences and seminars, some required and others optional, are available. All training faculty are involved in well-funded applied or basic research in nutrition and most have had extensive experience in training postdoctoral fellows. Trainees usually are supported for only two years but additional training with support from other sources is encouraged. The Program Director is responsible for overall administration of the training program. He is assisted by an Advisory Committee, which meets yearly to review scientific and operational aspects of the program and review the progress of each trainee. A separate committee is responsible for review and initial screening of applicants. Those deemed acceptable are then presented to the Executive Committee, which makes the final selection. These committees meet as frequently as necessary to fulfill their responsibilities. A unique aspect of the program is a small individual committee that guides and supervises the progress of each trainee. This group, headed by the trainee's mentor, may suggest necessary/desirable course work, approves final research applications, assures that potentially beneficial collaborations with other units of BCM and collaborating institutions have been explored, and assesses progress. The competitive pool of applicants to this postdoctoral research training program has increased in both number and quality over the past few years, but additional efforts are planned to further enhance the overall quality of applicants and to increase the number of MD applicants as well as applicants from underrepresented racial/ethnic groups.

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