Clinical Research Training Program

Frequently Asked Questions

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Why is the degree program described NOT an MPH program? Isn't an MPH the degree most clinician researchers obtain?

At the conclusion of their training, scholars who successfully complete this program will receive the degree of Master of Science in Clinical Research Methods-not Master of Public Health. While many clinician-investigators have obtained the MPH as they sought training in research methods (among them the director of this training program), the MPH is not really designed as a research degree. It is a degree in public health, an important field which includes such activities as governmental oversight (e.g. local health departments), environmental medicine, health policy, health services administration, and international health.

We are seeking applicants whose career objectives focus on doing research (see next question). Our didactic program is designed with this in mind. This excludes several "core" MPH courses (environmental medicine, health administration, sociomedical sciences), and adds several different ones (research ethics, scientific communication).

It should be noted that although few programs offered the degree MS in Clinical Research Methods when the CRTP began, such a degree is becoming more widely available. It is already being seen as a recognizable and valuable credential.


What kinds of careers is this training likely to lead to?

This program will prepare participants for the wide range of careers encompassed by the term "research." This will, to be sure, include work in academic settings, but graduates will also be prepared to do clinical research in other settings, such as industry, health care systems, and government.


Why are applications only sought from people who hold doctoral degrees? Will PhDs receive equal consideration? What about medical students, nurses, and other health professionals?

It is important to emphasize that this is a relatively new program, and that the process of start-up required that choices be made. Our class size is small and diverse with respect to specialties and research topics. Given that, we believe that the development of the program will be enhanced by enrolling scholars whose prior training and experience is relatively homogeneous. Thus, our program currently requires a doctoral degree. Since our focus is on clinical research, PhD candidates will be more competitive if they have experience in a clinical setting. Certainly, doctorally prepared nurses are encouraged to apply. Any health professional or student is encouraged to contact the program director to inquire about eligibility.


What is the overall time commitment for program participants?

While this cannot be stated with precision, we anticipate participants will need to devote up to half of their professional activities to this program. This estimate is based on the realization that for our applicants, a "work week" is greater than 40 hours; and that academics recognize that some work, particularly reading, studying, and writing, must be done evenings and weekends.


It seems you're asking a lot of the applicants' departments. Why?

We are asking a lot. Participants in this program must be able to devote the time required, or they will not succeed. However, all applicants to this program, whether fellows or faculty, do not fully control how their time is spent. To ensure each participant's probability for success is maximized, we require assurance from a responsible party that her or his time will made available (including demonstrable reductions in clinical, administrative, or teaching obligations), and that all necessary resources will be provided.


How many students will be enrolled?

We plan to maintain a class size between 10 and 15 clinician Scholars. Based on our experience with the charter class, the Class of 2000, we believe that some of the valuable interactive teaching and learning we have accomplished may be lost if the group gets much larger. Conversely, a much smaller group could limit the breadth of experiences and outlooks among the Scholars.


How do I apply?

Applications include a CV, a personal statement, two letters of recommendation (addressing the applicant's potential as a clinical researcher), and a statement of support from the applicant's training director, division head, or chairman (as applicable). An official transcript from the applicant's medical school (or other professional school) and a personal interview are also required. A brief description of a proposed research project, and a statement from a proposed faculty mentor are also required.

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