Child Health Career Development Program at UCSF

Investigator: Donna M. Ferriero, MD
Sponsor: NIH National Institute of Child Health and Human Development

Location(s): United States


The rationale for the program is based on the well-documented and urgent need to support mentored career development for pediatricians to enable them to become fully independent and productive basic science researchers, and the fact that UCSF has the vision, experience and infrastructure to train the next generation of leaders in pediatric science. Our aims are to (1) offer a structured program for training academic pediatricians, (2) foster career development and promote retention of junior faculty, (3) expose promising early career pediatricians to the intellectual richness of UCSF research and (4) promote diversity in academic pediatrics. The scholars trained by this program will bring state-of-the-art approaches to bear on diagnosis, treatment and prevention of health problems in children as well as childhood onset of adult illness. The design of this program involves harnessing the expertise of world-class basic laboratory scientists who will serve as mentors for interdisciplinary training. The basic science training program is focused around seven scientific cores: cancer, cardiopulmonary medicine, developmental biology, genetics, immunology, neurobiology, and stem cell biology. Each core has a Director, designated faculty, and a specific didactic curriculum. The scholars, in conjunction with their mentor and Core Director, will also participate in a program of additional discipline-specific course work dependent on both the prior experience and training of the applicant and the scientific theme of the trainee's research, which may often overlap amongst different cores. We believe that the Department of Pediatrics at UCSF has the vision, experience, and infrastructure to train the next generation of leaders in academic pediatrics. We provide evidence that the Department together with the broader UCSF research community comprise an exceptional environment for preparing young pediatricians who will receive support through the CHRCDA mechanism for successful careers as basic science researchers. For example, there are over 1,000 research laboratories and over 2,200 active research projects at UCSF, and the faculty currently includes 4 Nobel laureates, 41 National Academy of Sciences members, 61 American Academy of Arts and Sciences members, 72 Institute of Medicine members, and 16 Investigators of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. This program is an investment in the future of children's health, as the diverse group of researchers we will train will harness advanced research strategies to address urgent problems (e.g., asthma, cancer, infectious diseases, host defense defects, diabetes, obesity, and developmental malformations of the heart, brain, and other organs), that will result in new treatments to improve child health outcomes.