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University of Iowa News Release

Aug. 26, 2004

UI Medical Student Research Fellowships Win Renewed Funding

The University of Iowa Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine has received renewed funding for a program designed to foster the next generation of physician-scientists -- the men and women who will discover new cures and advance scientific understanding.

The Doris Duke Clinical Research Fellowship Program is open to medical students from the UI and other schools across the country. It began in 2001 with a $625,000 grant from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, one of only 10 such grants awarded to top medical schools. The new funds, totaling $500,000, will support the UI program for the next three years.

"Physicians who do clinical research are growing few in number, and the best way to ensure progress is to show students the potential for careers in academics and research," said Peggy Nopoulos, M.D., UI professor of psychiatry and director of the fellowship program.

The yearlong program teams students with faculty mentors who offer research experience and insight into academic life. Students can pursue the fellowships at any point during medical school, returning to their medical studies after the fellowship year. The competitive program accepts five to eight students a year, awarding each a $20,000 stipend, health insurance and funds to attend two academic conferences.

The program focuses on clinical research, studies that enlist volunteers and patients to assess new treatments, chart the course of disease, identify health risk factors or improve health care delivery. Since it involves human subjects, such research carries special ethical and regulatory considerations, and teaching students about these issues is an important facet of the fellowship program.

"The earlier that medical students and physicians are involved in research training, the more likely they are to continue that involvement," said Allyn Mark, M.D., UI Carver College of Medicine senior associate dean and associate dean for research and graduate programs.

Robert Hong, M.D., was among the first class of UI fellows. Today an otolaryngology resident at UI Hospitals and Clinics, Hong said the program focused his research interests and convinced him to pursue an academic career. "The Doris Duke fellowship was an ideal opportunity for me," he explained. "It allowed me to do research that had a strong clinical and interdisciplinary focus, which was quite unique among the different programs I looked at."

Other medical schools that offer Doris Duke Clinical Research Fellowships today include the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University; Harvard Medical School; Mount Sinai School of Medicine; University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine; University of North Carolina Medical School at Chapel Hill; University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine; University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center; Washington University School of Medicine; and Yale University School of Medicine.

For more information about the UI Doris Duke Clinical Research Fellowship Program, visit www.medicine.uiowa.edu/dorisduke/. To learn more about the national program and other initiatives, visit the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation web site at www.ddcf.org.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Health Science Relations, 5141 Westlawn, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1178

CONTACTS: Media: Lin Larson, 319/335-9569; lin-larson@uiowa.edu; Program: Peggy Nopoulos, M.D., 319-353-4233