DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): The UAB Training Program in Rheumatic and Musculoskeletal Disease Research (Director: S. L. Bridges, Jr.) builds on established strengths in adult and pediatric rheumatology, immunology, musculoskeletal medicine, and clinical/translational investigation. To provide a vibrant and effective interdisciplinary training
environment, this program brings together the Divisions of Clinical Immunology and Rheumatology and Pediatric Rheumatology, the Comprehensive Arthritis, Musculoskeletal, Bone, and Autoimmunity Center (CAMBAC), and the Center for Outcomes and Effectiveness Research and Education (COERE). These units enable an integrated, interwoven fabric of collaborative science, which ranges from fundamental molecular discovery to applied clinical and translational research. This training program also builds on trans-departmental initiatives in autoimmunity and inflammation, genetics, and state of the art translational clinical and outcomes research. It incorporates an established faculty committed to training in the rheumatic diseases. There is also the explicit effort to incorporate young faculty to further strengthen the outstandin mentoring environment and to promote development of all phases of this program. An effective interdisciplinary training program requires faculty with collaborative and synergistic scientific interests and projects, as well as systematic coordination of training opportunities. The collaborative environment at UAB, embodied by the centers, programs, and departments in this application, provides a strong research foundation. The committed training environment of the thematically organized Graduate Biomedical Sciences program and an outstanding Office of Postdoctoral Education, provide an ideal setting for the implementation of training in interdisciplinary rheumatic and musculoskeletal disease research. Required coursework will be incorporated into the individual development plan (IDP) of each trainee, which will be augmented by a broad interdisciplinary enrichment program. Leadership will be provided by an Executive Committee and the overall performance of the Program will be evaluated by the Research Training Program Internal Advisory Committee and by an External Advisory Committee. To provide rigorous and timely feedback to both trainees and mentors, formal assessment of the Research Training Program will be performed. A series of benchmarks for progress will be formulated for each trainee and mentor and reviewed on a semi-annual basis. The members of the UAB training faculty are fully committed to continuing to provide mentorship, support, and guidance to young investigators to help them develop the tools and skills necessary to advance the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases.