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University of Iowa News Release

Sept. 17, 2003

Major NIH Grant Will Help Train UI Clinician-Researchers

Efforts in the University of Iowa health science colleges to provide clinical research training and protected research time for junior faculty will get a major boost with a five-year, $6.2 million dollar grant to the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine from the National Center for Research Resources, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The grant, which was effective Sept. 1, will allow the UI to identify and award up to 12 career development grants over the five-year period. UI physicians and dentists primarily at the assistant professor level will be eligible for the Mentored Clinical Research Scholar Program. The career development grants will provide the majority of each recipient's salary for one year and allow recipients to spend up to 90 percent of their time in research and any needed research training.

Managed care, increased health care competition and higher levels of indebtedness make it difficult for health care professionals to devote adequate time and funds to research projects in patient-care, epidemiology and health services and outcomes. Given these hurdles, research advisory panels have recommended that institutions do more to provide opportunities for clinical researchers.

"The grant will help junior faculty develop and launch successful research careers," said Jean Robillard, M.D., dean of the UI Carver College of Medicine. "The strength of University of Iowa senior faculty in the health sciences and the mentoring they provide played significantly into the UI being selected for this award. We can expect some wonderful collaborations."

The program will draw on faculty from the UI Carver College of Medicine, the UI College of Dentistry and the UI College of Public Health. The principal investigator for the grant is Allyn L. Mark, M.D., the Roy J. Carver Professor of Internal Medicine and senior associate dean and associate dean for research and graduate programs in the UI Carver College of Medicine. Mark said that Ingrid Nygaard, M.D., UI professor of obstetrics and gynecology and an outstanding clinical investigator, will be associate director of the new NIH grant.

"This new grant is another indicator that the University of Iowa is on the forefront of meeting the challenges in clinical research," Mark said.

Career development awards from the NIH, other federal agencies and private foundations are rare for junior faculty. The Mentored Clinical Research Scholar Program fills a funding gap. In addition to covering nearly all of participating junior faculty members' salaries for one year, the grant provides approximately five percent support for their mentors.

Brad Doebbeling, M.D., who recently moved on to a position in Indiana, was instrumental in the UI being selected for this highly competitive grant, Mark added.

"This new grant is a tribute to the leadership of Brad Doebbeling and to other faculty leaders and young faculty in the Carver College of Medicine and other health science colleges," Mark said.

In addition to Mark and Nygaard, the new grant's UI leadership includes Robert Wallace, M.D., professor of epidemiology and internal medicine and the Irene Ensminger Stecher Cancer Professor; Steve Levy, D.D.S., professor of preventive and community dentistry; Gary Hunninghake, M.D., the Sterba Professor of Internal Medicine and director of the Graduate Program in Translational Biomedical Research; and William Haynes, M.D., professor of internal medicine and director of the UI General Clinical Research Center. Haynes and Hunninghake also are researchers with the Iowa City Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC). Hunninghake also is a staff physician with the Iowa City VAMC.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Health Science Relations, 5137 Westlawn, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1178

CONTACT: Media: Becky Soglin, Writer, 319-335-6660, becky-soglin@uiowa.edu