The three major elements of the training program are:
- Direct research experience
- Directed study and data analysis
- A core seminar program.
The principal emphasis is on direct involvement in ongoing research. The core seminar program provides a modest structured, didactic experience. In addition, postdoctoral trainees are encouraged to take coursework in fields new to them to broaden their knowledge base in preparation for interdisciplinary research activities. There are also limited patient care and teaching opportunities. These various elements are described below.
Active mentorship is an important feature of the Center's fellowship program. The faculty is devoted to the academic success of the fellows and each fellow develops a relationship with one or two faculty advisors to supervise her or his research plans, publications, and career development. Our goal is to provide all fellows with an experience tailored to their career needs and including experience in research, manuscript preparation and publication, scientific presentations, grant-writing, and planning for future academic appointments.
The Center includes some $10 million annually in funded research projects providing ample opportunity for fellows to gain experience in research design, intervention design, and implementation, process evaluation, statistical methods and analytic software, metabolic and physiologic measurement, laboratory analysis, etc. Fellows typically select one or two ongoing research projects as the focal point of their research experience.
All fellows will engage in directed readings of major articles in the field of cardiovascular disease prevention. This reading provides a framework for understanding the current and future activities of the Center and for developing research and data analysis ideas. Postdoctoral fellows are expected to undertake a data analysis project in an area of interest utilizing data collected in various Center-sponsored research projects. This requires a literature review and consulting on data management and statistical methods with members of the faculty.
The core seminar program provides a structured review of basic materials in chronic disease prevention, provides a forum for discussion of research projects, and promotes continuing review of relevant literature. There is a regular, informal research and publication discussion group held semi-monthly, sponsored by the SPRC faculty. Other aspects of chronic disease prevention, including activities of scholars outside the Center, are provided by a weekly Research Seminar. This series is planned to include the broad range of activities within the Center, including clinical, behavioral, and community topics.
Health Improvement Program
The Stanford Health Improvement Program is a comprehensive wellness program for faculty, staff, and retirees. HIP includes projects that can accommodate part-time help from fellows, which is an excellent way to earn supplemental income. Past projects have included:
- Database management and data analysis
- Curriculum development
- Revision of existing health promotion materials
- Training programs, and teaching
HIP can also assist with the recruitment of individuals for pilot projects, focus groups, or scientific investigations
Master of Science Degree
Physician fellows may choose to pursue a Master of Science degree in Epidemiology during their fellowship if they have not had formal training in research methods. The SPRC training program grant provides partial tuition support for this degree. It is also possible, with approval, to pursue a Masters of Public Health degree at the University of California, Berkeley.