Program Director: James Luketich
Co-PDs: Julie Phillippi and David Vorp
Title: Cardiothoracic Surgery Research Training Program
Description: This application is for a research training grant focused on training 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 cardiothoracic surgical workforce. The necessary resources to support this mission is largely dictated by the capacity for initial 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 Training 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. 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 will 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 a 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 a curated and individualized didactic curriculum and hands-on training that specifically addresses the unique concerns 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 a diverse workforce capable of accomplishing the NHLBI’s mission.