Amazing Summer Opportunity: NIH Clinical Center Clinical and Translational Research Course for PhD Students

I wanted to share information about an amazing opportunity I had this past summer at the NIH Clinical Center. Although not highly publicized, the NIH has some great summer opportunities for students.  Click here

One of these hidden gems is a 2 week course in clinical and translational research for PhD students in biomedical sciences, held at the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. This course was started in 2012, and is intended for PhD students at all levels who are interested in a career in clinical and translational research. I was selected to attend the course this past summer, from July 6-17.

I arrived in Washington DC the day before the course started, and made my way to the house I had arranged to stay at through Airbnb. It turned out that about 1/3 of the 29 students had made similar arrangements, there are many very nice neighborhoods in walking distance to the NIH Clinical Center. After getting through the strict NIH security, we were ready to begin our journey. Most of my classmates were 2rd to 5th year PhD students from molecular chemistry or neuroscience programs, and I was the only nurse (MD/PhD students are not accepted). The class sessions cover all aspects of clinical and translational research, from an overview of the NIH and the NIH Clinical Center, to statistical methods, study design, human subjects considerations in early phase clinical trials, protocol development and implementation, scientific review, the role and function of the IRB, NIH resources for clinical research, device and drug development, and post-doctoral fellowships. Each of the class sessions was taught by a NIH researcher, who usually also shared their clinical or translational research, and their journey from student to NIH researcher. Their stories were definitely inspirational! We also has the opportunity to participate in tours of different parts of the NIH Clinical Center, such as the metabolic lab and imaging center.

The highlight of the course was the opportunity we were given to set up “meet and greet” appointments with NIH researchers of our choosing to build our professional networks and learn more about NIH careers. I met with two nurse researchers at the NIH Clinical Center, as well as the Director of Intramural Research at NINR. Everyone I met was very supportive and encouraging, this opportunity was a great jump-start to beginning my dissertation research!

The application process is pretty simple, consisting of a NIH biosketch with a personal statement of what you expect to get out of the course and how you will apply the knowledge. In addition, you need a faculty letter of recommendation. Applications open in January, and are due by the end of March. Notifications are done in mid-May. The application process is competitive. Nurses are involved in translational research in so many ways, and we need to make our voices heard! Please consider applying for this great learning opportunity, or other summer opportunities at NIH. For more information click here