Expansion of the MSCR
The PhDCR will build upon the MSCR. The PhDCR will include additional coursework in applied bioethics, cultural competence and team building, and will also require completion of a dissertation. Curriculum will be developed during an initial planning phase in cooperation with collaborators and course directors. Curriculum will be designed to explore scientific, ethical, legal, social and cultural issues inherent to the full and equal participation of ethnic minority populations in research, particularly in the areas of genetics, genomics and end-of-life decision making. This will enable trainees to develop a broader awareness of issues involved in reducing barriers to community-based participatory research, particularly in these distinct fields. The curriculum, which will include classroom, laboratory and community-based experiential training, will prepare multidisciplinary teams to work in partnership with communities to conduct translational health disparities research.
In addition to developing new curricula, we will solidify an administrative structure based in the Dean's office at JABSOM to facilitate program activities. This will ensure that recruitment of trainees, mentors and faculty as well as cross-disciplinary academic collaboration, takes place in an atmosphere conducive to building productive research teams. In particular, it will be important to identify and reduce administrative barriers to interdisciplinary study and collaboration. Finally, the administrative component will involve ensuring compliance with applicable external and internal requirements and procedures as well as identification of continued sources of funding for the PhDCR program after the NIH award period.
Collaboration with University of California at San Francisco (UCSF)
Collaboration with UCSF is a valuable component of program and curriculum development envisaged for the PhDCR. In 1999, the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at UCSF received an NIH K30 award to expand UCSF curriculum in clinical research training. The UCSF Clinical Research Training Program has been nationally recognized as a premiere academic program. Indeed, Dr. Hulley's textbook, Designing Clinical Research , is used uniformly as setting the standard for excellence in clinical research training methods. UH MSCR staff members have been working closely with Stephen Hulley, MD, MPH, Program Director of the UCSF program, and his colleagues Charles McCulloch, PhD, and Bernard Lo, MD, to design the MSCR. To ensure excellence in the PhDCR, these distinguished faculty have agreed to assist with refinement, implementation, and evaluation of PhDCR activities.
Collaboration with Tuskegee National Center for Bioethics in Research and Health Care (NCBRHC)
Another important component of the proposed PhDCR is the prospect of collaborations with the NCBRHC at Tuskegee University . In October 2003, the NIH National Center for Research Resources (NCRR) and the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NCMHD) awarded a $14 million grant to Tuskegee University to complete its NCBRHC. The award will support research and teaching facilities for faculty, researchers and visiting scholars for studies in bioethics, public health and integrated bioscience programs. As noted by NIH Director Dr. Zerhouni, "the Bioethics Center at Tuskegee University helps us promote sound medical research practice by educating researchers and bringing greater attention to bioethical issues that impact disadvantaged populations." 13 In keeping with this vision, we are excited about the opportunity to work with Tuskegee in adding to the critical mass of committed scholars and scientists who will collaborate in the development of research designed to improve health outcomes in such populations.
JABSOM's RCMI-funded Clinical Research Center has established collaborations with Tuskegee University and other minority institutions on an NIH P50 Center application in response to RFA HG-03-005. The application proposes a Minority Clinical Research Network with a multidisciplinary team of geneticists, ethicists, lawyers, social and behavioral scientists working to address ethical, legal and social implications of the Human Genome Project for racial and ethnic minorities. Tuskegee will offer bioethics expertise for the five minority clinical research centers involved (UH, University of Puerto Rico, Morehouse School of Medicine, Meharry Medical School, Drew University of Medicine and Science). If funded, this Network will support collaborative research, training and community outreach. In addition, UH and Tuskegee University have each been awarded funds for an NIH EXPORT program. The proposed Network and existing EXPORT programs create opportunities for PhDCR graduates to foster partnerships with Tuskegee in connection with parallel health disparities research themes. As the nation's first bioethics institute dedicated to addressing issues that involve African Americans and other underserved populations, Tuskegee's center could offer tremendous insight into development of our curriculum as we begin to explore issues relevant to Hawai`i's underserved populations. We are honored that Dr. Grandison from Meharry and Dr. Sodeke from Tuskegee have expressed their willingness to offer mentoring and guidance as well as explore collaborative partnerships in connection with this application (See Appendix I for letters of support).