AAOS Bulletin - June, 2005

USBJD launches young clinical investigators program

By Kathleen Misovic

Clinical research in musculoskeletal diseases is not keeping pace with the increasing burden they represent in the United States. In response, the U.S. Bone and Joint Decade (USBJD) has established a Young Investigators Committee comprised of members from the AAOS and other USBJD supporting organizations. The committee, which is chaired by Nancy Lane, MD, of the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research and the American College of Rheumatology, is charged with developing strategies to encourage young investigators to pursue careers in clinical bone and joint research.

One of the major hurdles facing young clinical investigators is learning how to write and secure grants in clinical research. To assist them in this process, the committee has assembled a faculty and created an annual workshop program to mentor participants on obtaining funding.

Under the leadership of Dr. Lane, the program faculty includes AAOS members Joshua J. Jacobs, MD; Hans J. Kreder, MD, and Kurt P. Spindler, MD, as well as John Esdaile, MD, a rheumatologist; Elizabeth Myers, PhD, a researcher and professor with the Hospital for Special surgery in New York and the Weill Medical College of Cornell University; Edward Puzas, PhD, a researcher and professor with the Orthopaedic Research Society; and Emil Schemitsch, MD, an orthopaedic surgeon.

NIAMS Director Steven I. Katz, MD, PhD (standing immediately left of sofa), was the featured guest speaker at the USBJD Young Investigators Workshop on grant writing. The workshop, which was hosted by the AAOS, included faculty and student researchers from a variety of disciplines. Robert H. Haralson III, MD, AAOS director of medical affairs (far left), was also an invited speaker. More information on the program can be found on the USBJD Web site, http://www.usbjd.org

The program is open to promising junior faculty, senior fellows or post-doctoral researchers who have been nominated by their department or division chairs. It is also open to senior fellows or residents who are conducting research and have faculty appointments in place or confirmed. To apply for the program, candidates are required to secure the support of their department heads and be sure they have the time, resources and support to complete their grant proposals.

Applications for the program were sent through USBJD participating organizations to all disciplines represented under the Decade. The committee received more than 40 responses, the majority from orthopaedists. The 16 selected candidates included orthopaedic surgeons, physical therapists, rheumatologists and a chiropractor.

Workshop teaches grant-writing skills

The first workshop, held May 13-15, was hosted by the AAOS at the Hyatt Rosemont, Ill.

The second workshop will be held November 4-6 in Toronto and hosted by the Canadian Bone and Joint Decade. Additional workshops will be held in coming years.

The workshops provide clinical research training and enable participants to interact with talented clinical investigators in other organizations involved in musculoskeletal care. The committee believes these interactions will enhance the credibility and visibility of orthopaedic outcomes in research.

The first workshop centered on grant-writing skills and explained the formats for National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant applications as well as the NIH application review procedures. It also took a detailed look at study design and methods, result interpretation and pitfalls, and ways to secure support and establish effective collaborations. Participants in the first workshop are required to complete their grant applications before they attend the second workshop, which will feature a review of applications with a mock study section.

In addition, the workshop provided each participant with individual time with mentors. Stephen I. Katz, MD, PhD, director of the National Institute for Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, participated as a guest speaker.

Six AAOS members were part of the inaugural program. They are: Kevin J. Bozic, MD; Harry A. Hoyen, MD; G. Russell Huffman, MD; Todd A. Milbrandt, MD; Kornelis Poelstra, MD; and Francis H. Shen, MD.

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