Innovative strategic Canadian research training from TomorrOw's Research Cardiovascular Health Care Professionals (TORCH)

Armstrong, Paul W.; Ezekowitz, Christina; Michelakis, Evangelos; Anderson, Todd; Archer, Stephen; Ghali, William; Hayward, Robert; Jensen, Louise; Lopaschuk, Gary; Sheldon, Robert
February 2004
Clinical & Investigative Medicine;Feb2004, Vol. 27 Issue 1, p33
Academic Journal
Cardiovascular research training is experiential, and "skills" are traditionally acquired through a master--apprentice paradigm. The complexity of contemporary clinical research requires a new model for research train-ing. Facilitated through a Strategic Training Program Initiative, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), with its partners the Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research and the Heart and Stroke Foundation, supported the Universities of Alberta and Calgary to create a new and innovative training model. Tomorrow's Research Cardiovascular Health Professionals (TORCH) is an integrated 2-year program for health care professionals from diverse disciplines to be mentored toward careers as leaders in translational cardiovascular research, applying discovery to human health. This report describes the vision, mission, core values, objectives, design and curriculum of the program. Our vision is the development of a new generation of cardiovascular research clinician--scientists, with particular emphasis on thought, leadership and collaboration. The program incorporates 4 core values: innovation and discovery, a translational and transdisciplinary focus, an emphasis on collaboration and integration of research concepts, and the teaching of a core body of research knowledge coupled with real-world "survival" skills. The core curriculum, organized according to a cluster concept, traverses the 4 pillars of the CIHR. Through the medium of 1-hour weekly videoconferences, the curriculum cycles through case studies, seminars and a journal club in focused areas of cardiovascular research. Mentors in the TORCH program have diverse backgrounds that epitomize the transdisciplinary translational aspects of the program and are chosen for their proven record of research accomplishment and prior history of successful mentoring. The program has recruited 19 trainees from a broad cross-section of disciplines, integrating 2 University of Alberta...


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