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NHLBI CVD Epidemiology & Biostatistics Training Program

Department of Preventive Medicine
Feinberg School of Medicine
Northwestern University
www.preventivemedicine.northwestern.edu/image of external icon

Director: Martha Daviglus, M.D., Ph.D.
Address, phone, e-mail

Abstract

The Training Program in CVD Epidemiology and Prevention at Northwestern University combines didactic training with a variety of other interdisciplinary experiences to optimize preparation for a research career. The centerpiece of the fellowship program is mentored research. Distinguished physician/scientists and scientists who have successfully mentored junior colleagues in the past have been identified throughout the School of Medicine to serve as mentors for this training program. Clinicians in this program have available as mentors many successful physician/scientists as role models. Under the supervision of one or more research mentors, trainees are expected to gain hands-on experience in the design, conduct, and analysis of CVD epidemiologic or prevention research. Fellows are expected to generate research leading to presentations and publications in peer-reviewed journals. Regular review and feedback will be provided to trainees about progress towards goals defined individually at the beginning of the training program.

Formal training will typically involve the equivalent of one year of didactic coursework in the theoretical and methodologic aspects of research. The availability of a wide range of courses and seminars in epidemiology, biostatistics, cardiovascular medicine, research ethics, scientific writing and peer review permits individual tailoring of the formal training element of the program. All trainees have the opportunity to complete a Master's degree program in Public Health or Clinical Investigation.

Clinical health professionals are in a unique position to gain skills from this intensive research training that will place them in a better position to apply for and receive future research grant support, an essential component of a career in academic medicine. For this reason, all MD fellows are expected to complete a Master's degree in Public Health or Clinical Investigation. All PhD postdoctoral fellows must show evidence of competence in biostatistics; if such competence cannot be demonstrated, they will be required to undertake further training in this area as it relates to their research.

In addition to didactic training, fellows are encouraged to participate in an extramural training experience such as the two-week long American Heart Association (AHA) Summer Training Course in Cardiovascular Epidemiology. Attendance and participation at national meetings is supported by the training grant. The National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) sponsors a half-day session at ithe annual AHA Council on Epidemiology and Prevention conference which is devoted to the presentation of work from current NRSA trainees. Trainees are encouraged to participate in at least one other national meeting of their choosing. Through participation in national meetings, trainees are exposed to work in progress by other scientists in the field and are able to make professional contacts.

Professional development activities (led in large part by the primary and secondary mentors) are an integral component of the training program. Participation in career development activities is highly specialized. In general, fellows will be encouraged to attend University sponsored seminars on such topics as academic job search strategies, pathways to successful careers in academic medicine (targeted to clinicians), promotion and tenure, and concerns of women in academic medicine.

This combination of mentoring, formal coursework, seminars, and participation in ongoing research will be structured to provide the most useful training experience for each individual fellow.

Areas of Special Emphasis

The Department of Preventive Medicine is home to several NIH- and American Heart Association-funded studies that are available to trainees for research experiences (e.g., Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults, Women's Health Initiative, Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis, Chicago Heart Association Detection Project in Industry, International Study of Micro and Macro-nutrients and Blood Pressure, Chicago Healthy Aging Study, Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos). Areas of research expertise of the faculty include CVD epidemiology, preventive cardiology, vascular medicine, genetic epidemiology, metabolomics, cardiovascular nutrition, health services research, and vascular biology. Faculty in the Department maintain collaborations with a number of Departments in the Feinberg School of Medicine including Cardiology, General Internal Medicine, Endocrinology, Pediatrics, Radiology, and Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. Additionally, collaborations are also established with faculty in the Departments of Medicine, Preventive Medicine and Epidemiology at the Loyola University School of Medicine and the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Areas of research emphasis include:

  • Observational study of the development of cardiovascular risk factors in young adults and long-term (20 + years) predictors of cardiovascular disease morbidity and mortality
  • Non-invasive imaging (magnetic resonance imaging, computed tomography scanning) of atherosclerosis and its risk factors (collaborations with Cardiology, and Radiology)
  • Health care costs and health-related quality of life associated with various cardiovascular risk profiles (collaborations with the Institute for Healthcare Studies)
  • Ethnic and gender disparities in health
  • Peripheral arterial disease: functional consequences, causes, under-detection and treatment (collaboration with General Internal Medicine)
  • Association of hormones and cardiovascular risk (collaboration with Endocrinology)
  • Genetic determinants of obesity (collaboration with Endocrinology, Loyola University School of Medicine)
  • Cardiovascular health and sleep (collaboration with Neurology and the Sleep Disorders Program)

The program encourages and promotes multi-disciplinary, inter-departmental, and inter-institutional reasearch.

Type of Training: Postdoctoral

Key Faculty Available as Preceptors

Martha L. Daviglus, Professor of Preventive Medicine (Geriatrics) and Medicine at FSM
Richard Cooper, Professor and Chair of the Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine at Loyola-Stritch School of Medicine
Mercedes Carnethon, Assistant Professor of Preventive Medicine at FSM
Alan Dyer, Professor of Preventive Medicine at FSM
Philip Greenland, Harry W. Dingman Professor and Executive Associate Dean for Clinical and Translational Research
Alan Kadish, Professor of Medicine (Electrophysiology) and co-Director of the Cardiology Division at FSM
Kiang Liu, Professor of Preventive Medicine and Medicine (Geriatrics) at FSM
Donald Lloyd-Jones, Associate Professor of Preventive Medicine and Medicine (Cardiology) at FSM
Douglas Losordo, Professor of Medicine (Cardiology) at FSM and Director of Feinberg Cardiovascular Research Institute
Mary M. McDermott, Associate Professor of Medicine (General Internal Medicine) at FSM
Bonnie Spring, Professor of Preventive Medicine at FSM
Jeremiah Stamler, Professor of Preventive Medicine at Northwestern, former Department Chair, and previous Training (T32) Program Director
Linda Van Horn, Professor of Preventive Medicine at FSM

Last updated: March, 2009

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