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UCSF learners who have not yet made a commitment to complete a pathway can explore the Clinical and Translational Research Pathway via several routes:

Requirements

For pre-doctoral learners, the CTR Pathway offers two tracks:

The CTR Pathway also offers students the possibility of graduating with the MD with Distinction. While most students who participate in the MDwD program will opt to take an extra year to complete the Advanced Program and scholarly project, an additional year is not required. Motivated students with time and capacity for dedicated pathway work in their 4th year, may complete the MDwD program without taking an extra year.

School of Medicine: Pre-Doctoral Learners
Core Clinical and Translational Research Pathway


The Core CTR Pathway does not require any additional time in training. All learners must complete the following prior to graduation:

To complete all requirements, advanced planning is essential:

  • Learners must apply for RAPtr approval of mentored projects regardless of desire for funding. Ideally, learners will apply to RAPtr no later than the January deadline in Year 3. Meeting this deadline will allow for early proposal approval prior to submission of Year 4 schedules and will assist in streamlined Year 4 planning
  • Note that the required elective Designing Clinical Research is offered only in August/September. While meeting the January deadline is optimal, learners may apply to RAPtr for project approval up to the June deadline but no later.
Applying to the Core CTR Pathway

Once your mentored project has been approved by RAPtr and you have a plan to take the DCR elective, you must enroll in the CTR Pathway:

Applying for Pre-Approval for Academic Credit for Independent Project Work - IDS 140.20

Learners can enroll in IDS 140.20 to earn academic credit for independent project work IF they are not receiving project funding at the same time. Learners must apply for credit three weeks before they begin their project work.

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School of Medicine: Pre-Doctoral Learners
Advanced Clinical and Translational Research Pathway

The Advanced CTR Pathway requires more time than the traditional 4 years of training. All learners must complete the following prior to graduation:

  • a yearlong mentored project as part of a one- or two-year CTR Fellowship
  • specialized coursework:
    • Designing Clinical Research for Students and Residents (DCR, Epi 150.03)
    • The Responsible Conduct of Research, (RCR, Epi201)
    • attendance at select noontime lectures and works-in-progress seminars sponsored by the CTR Fellowship
  • scholarly presentation at the UCSF Research and Scholarly Activities Festival
  • and a legacy product designated by the MD with Distinction Program

To complete all requirements, advanced planning is essential. Learners must apply for a one- or two-year CTR Fellowship by the established deadlines (note that a letter of intent to apply is due in November of Year 3).

The one-year CTR fellowship can lead to receipt of the Advanced Training in Clinical Research certificate (minimum 5 years of training); the two-year fellowship leads to a Masters of Advanced Studies in Clinical Research (MCR) (minimum 6 years of training). A combined 5-year MD/MAS Program is also available.

SOM learners in yearlong fellowship programs outside of UCSF (e.g., CDC, NIH) may be included in the Advanced CTR Pathway if they have co-mentors at UCSF; approval by the Pathway Director (George Sawaya) is required.

Applying to the Advanced CTR Pathway

Once your yearlong project has been approved by the CTR Fellowship Program via RAPtr, you must enroll in the CTR Pathway:

Learners in the SOM interested in CTR are encouraged to confer with CTR Pathway leadership as early as possible to outline a course of study that will fulfill Pathway requirements. For more information about the CTR Pathway, contact George Sawaya.

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School of Dentistry

The School of Dentistry is an active participant in the CTR fellowship summer research program. At least 2 summer research fellowships are available to dental school pre-doctoral students each year; these are administered from the Office of Graduate Research Administration (OGRA). For more information, contact Richard Jordan or Roger Mraz.

School of Nursing

The School of Nursing is an active participant in the CTR fellowship program. A possible combination of sequential experiences for the CTR Pathway is detailed here. Currently, involvement of nursing students in the Pathway will be judged individually based on consultation with Pathway directors and SON advisors. For more information, contact Kathryn Lee.

School of Pharmacy

The School of Pharmacy has implemented a Pharmaceutical Sciences Pathway (PSP) providing pharmacy students didactic course work on research topics and a 6-month period to devote fulltime to a research project. Many PSP students have taken part in the CTR fellowship program, and opportunities are being explored to permit co-enrollment of SOP students into both Pathways. For more information, contact Francesca Aweeka.

Coursework

The didactic courses for the Core Clinical and Translational Research Pathway for professional students include:

Designing Clinical Research for Students and Residents (Epi 150.03). The course is offered as part of enrollment in the CTRFP.

  • goal: an intensive course that guides research scholars through a wide range of essential components for writing a clinical research protocol developed around their own clinical research question
  • attendance: bi-weekly group lectures and small seminar groups for four weeks and a peer review session in the last week of the course
  • content: study questions, hypotheses, specific aims, study types, sample size estimation, power calculations and data analysis
  • final product: as part of the coursework, students will complete a 5-page original study protocol

On-line self-guided modules related to clinical and translational research are available here include the following titles:

  • Selecting a research project and mentor
  • Checklist: Define goals and prep for mentor meeting
  • Anatomy of research
  • Formulating a research question
  • Introduction to survey research
  • Elements of data analysis

Academic Credit for Independent Project Work - Pre-Approval Application Required

Learners can enroll in IDS 140.20 to earn academic credit for independent project work IF they are not receiving project funding at the same time. Learners must apply for credit three weeks before they begin their project work.

Mentored Project

Projects in the Core Clinical and Translational Research Pathway provide comprehensive exposure to the research process in clinical and translational research and include working closely with a mentor. The process by which mentors and projects are chosen is the same as for the CTR Fellowship Program; an on-line self-guided module provides tips on this process.

Consult the list of CTR Pathway mentors

Legacy

The legacy product for the Core CTR Pathway may take several forms including:

A portion of an on-going or planned research protocol: Mentors will decide the specific elements of the proposal that would be appropriate for students to complete as a legacy product. These may include:

  • performing a comprehensive literature review (e.g., systematic)
  • creating an operations manual for a research project
  • constructing a specialized measurement for analysis
  • interviewing an important group of subjects
  • doing a limited data analysis

A high-quality protocol: Such protocols will be completed to the specifications outlined in the Designing Clinical Research for Students and Residents course and include the following elements: well-researched and referenced background section; full methods, including design (with justification), sample size, measurements and visit protocols, references for or testing of proposed measurements; preliminary data and a discussion of human subjects concerns, when applicable. While we expect that each will be individualized based on specific project goals, we anticipate that most protocols will follow the NIH R01 format. Some students may choose this option if they would like to devise a protocol that will be actionable in the near future.

A manuscript completed as part of the MD with Distinction (MDwD) program. While most students in the MDwD program take additional time (beyond the 4-year standard curriculum) to complete the program, some students have completed the program without taking additional time. Currently, the program requires completion of a first-authored manuscript submitted to a peer-reviewed journal. Such manuscripts can be considered a legacy product for the Core CTR Pathway.

Recent project titles are available here

Dissemination

All Pathway learners present their work in at least one venue appropriate to their project and career plans.  MMP learners present their completed work as a poster or talk at the Pathways Symposium during the May UCSF Trainee Research and Innovation Festival. In addition, MMP learners often present at national conferences related to their specific project expertise.  Theses produced by MMP learners can result in publication of research work.

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