The purpose of the PhDCR is to enable trainees to attain specialized knowledge and experience in three areas fundamentally related to reducing health disparities in diverse populations. This will prepare them to actively serve on multidisciplinary translational research teams and develop strategies for conducting research across traditional disciplinary boundaries. This would also coincide with recent expansions in clinical research infrastructure and funded health disparities programs at UH and fill an important gap in JABSOM faculty. A formal expansion of the MSCR program would serve as a catalyst to increasing the critical mass of clinical researchers at UH, particularly those whose expertise prepares them for careers in community-based research. By expanding training and development opportunities for clinical researchers, many of whom are minority investigators, the PhDCR would perform a vital function in enhancing interdisciplinary research capacity at UH and embracing a new community-based participatory research model.
The PhDCR will offer an exciting alternative for 1) clinicians interested in health disparities research who have not followed the typical academic medical path (i.e., from medical school to residency to fellowship), and, 2) non-medical students in undergraduate or graduate programs (e.g., anthropology, chemistry, engineering, genetics, molecular biology, psychology, sociology) who want to draw upon their training in other disciplines and direct their careers toward health disparities community-based research. Hence, for MD's in primary care specialties such as Obstetrics, Pediatrics, Medicine, and Family Practice who choose not to specialize but are interested in community-based health disparities research, and for non-MD's whose expertise in other fields will complement that of medical clinicians, the PhD will provide tools and credentials for serving as multidisciplinary research team members who can work together to create innovative studies designed to reduce health disparities. Funding for development of MD faculty will come from new health disparities research opportunities (e.g., NCRR, NCMHD, NHLBI, CCHD, EXPORT, Minority Scientist Awards, K-23 awards, and other institutional support). Funding for non-MD's will come from either F-32 or T-32 awards as well as other institutional support. The UH Office of Grants Development and the CRC will work with PhDCR trainees to promote investigator development and obtain funding for multidisciplinary translational research awards.