Research training is a major focus of the fellowship training program and fellows are provided substantial protected time throughout their fellowship to engage in rich research experiences. The research program is designed to provide comprehensive scholarly training that prepares all trainees with the background and skills to successfully compete for academic faculty positions and extramural funding at the completion of their fellowship. Although many cardiology fellows are mentored by a faculty member within the Division of Pediatric Cardiology, the program encourages fellows to consider a broad range of potential mentors. The program will assist in identifying potential mentors, both within the Department of Pediatrics and, when appropriate, from across the School of Medicine campus.
Research facilities are available throughout Children’s Hospital Colorado and the University of Colorado School of Medicine. In the section of Cardiology, research facilities include a state-of-the-art echocardiography, cardiac catheterization, and electrophysiology laboratories, as well as a state-of-the-art flow lab. At the University of Colorado, multiple basic science laboratories are available including molecular biology laboratories, immunology laboratories, and perinatal research facilities among others.
Opportunities and Resources
Research opportunities available to cardiology trainees are broad and varied. The Exercise Physiology Laboratory, Echocardiographic Laboratory, Catheterization Laboratory, and Cardiac Intensive Care Unit within the Children's Hospital Colorado are all very well suited for clinical research. In addition, Children's Hospital Colorado Research Institute or Colorado Clinical Translational Sciences Institute (CCTSI) may provide "seed money" for new clinical and laboratory research.
Financial support and Human Research Committee assistance requires three to six months for preparation and approval. Approved and funded projects could begin early in the second year of fellowship. Participation in on-going projects may begin during the first year. Full-time research coordinators are available to assist in coordinating patient recruitment and data collection at the two sites.
During the first month of assigned research time, a trainee will typically meet with several potential mentors to discuss possible research projects and become familiar with different research programs. In the case of a basic science program, the fellow may “shadow” in individual labs in which they are interested. With the help of the Program Director, the goal is for the fellow to choose a mentor and research project in the first year. Once a research program is chosen, a timeline for research activity is developed by the mentor and the trainee. Broadly, the goal for research projects is for the fellow to have made sufficient progress that they can consider submission of an abstract to a national meeting by the middle of their second year. In general, research time during the third year of fellowship should be spent analyzing data, undertaking additional experimentation as necessary based in initial data analysis and feedback, preparing presentations and manuscripts, and planning follow-up projects.
Colorado Clinical Translational Sciences Institute (CCTSI)
The Colorado Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute is a collaborative enterprise between University of Colorado Denver, University of Colorado at Boulder, six affiliated hospitals and health care organizations, and multiple community organizations with resources to promote research and training that will advance health care and improve the public health. The CCTSI was established in 2008 with funding from the Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) initiative of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Through the CCTSI, Clinical Translational Research Centers (CTRCs) have been established at several affiliated hospitals, including The Children’s Hospital, University of Colorado Hospital, and Denver Health Medical Center. The CTRCs support research with clinical inpatient and outpatient space, inpatient research beds, nursing and research staff support, and core laboratory and nutrition services. To access CTRC resources, investigators submit a clinical protocol for review by the Scientific Advisory and Review Committee (SARC). The SARC review process gives investigators experience that may improve future COMIRB (Colorado Multiple Institutional Review Board) and grant applications. The CTRC also offers biostatistical collaboration/consultation for study design, including sample size and power calculations, data analysis, and manuscript preparation. To fulfill its mission to train future researchers, the CCTSI offers ongoing comprehensive educational programs in several areas, including Informatics, Biomedical Ethics, Biostatistics, and Study Design. Biostatisticians are also available for consultation on individual research projects through the Colorado Biostatistics Consortium (CBC). For more information, please see http://cbc.ucdenver.edu.
Scholarship Oversight Committees
Each fellow is assigned a Scholarly Oversight Committee (SOC), composed of at least 3 faculty members. The SOC meets every six months to evaluate the fellow’s scholarly progress and to help provide support and direction. At the end of training, the SOC is responsible for determining whether the fellow’s work has met the American Board of Pediatrics requirement for sub-board eligibility.