Over $1.6 million has been received from the NIH’s National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) for the 5-year Cardiothoracic Surgery Research Training Program. This research training grant is focused on the next generation of academic cardiac and thoracic surgeons and will be led by the following team which includes four McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine affiliated faculty members:
Program Director: James Luketich, MD
Associate Directors: Vera Donnenberg, PhD, and Matthew Schuchert, MD
In the long-term, this program will increase the number of academic cardiothoracic surgeons and will help to promote and sustain a diverse workforce capable of accomplishing the NHLBI’s mission.
The project summary follows:
This application is for a research training grant focused on the next generation of academic cardiac and thoracic surgeons. Given the current and future shortage of cardiothoracic surgeons, the extremely diverse clinical activities, and broad array of conditions treated by cardiac and thoracic surgeons, an NIH T32 training program in cardiothoracic surgery is an emergent unmet need to improve the academic cardiothoracic surgical workforce. The necessary resources to support this mission is largely dictated by the capacity for early research training mid-way through the residency-fellowship training continuum. The proposed program leverages the experience and framework of our successful ACGME accredited six-year Integrated Thoracic Residency Program, the research and mentoring expertise of our Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery faculty, and the infrastructure of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine (UPSOM) and UPMC Health System, to create a new T32 program in cardiothoracic surgery training. The proposed T32 program will provide a strong foundation of training in research, serving leadership, and collaborative partnerships during residency training, which will help to establish and promote successful independent career paths in academic cardiothoracic surgery. The proposed T32 program is expected to increase the pool of investigators who will be competitive for independent K- and R-awards as faculty.
This program will achieve the following specific goals: 1) Provide an early, stable, and supportive infrastructure of research training for academic cardiothoracic surgeons; 2) Recruit and select promising scholars and monitor their initial, ongoing, and long-term successes; 3) Coordinate faculty mentoring and training of cardiothoracic surgeons to provide hands-on research training coupled with a trainee-specific didactic curriculum that addresses the unique unmet needs of cardiothoracic surgery; 4) Leverage internal UPSOM, UPMC, and other institutional resources in trainee-specific training plans; 5) Promote an inclusive culture at all levels through diversity training and community outreach to recruit under-represented minority candidates to cardiothoracic surgery; 6) Provide structured training in leadership, partnership, and research program establishment during and beyond the period of support to position trainees for launching successful independent academic careers. In the long-term, the proposed T32 program will increase the number of academic cardiothoracic surgeons and will help to promote and sustain a diverse workforce capable of accomplishing the NHLBI’s mission.