Incoming Clinical Investigation Students for Fall 2018

The Graduate Program in Clinical Investigation remains an integral part of UW ICTR support for workforce development. This fall saw two incoming PhD students in Clinical Investigation, three Masters students in Clinical investigation, and four incoming PhD students in Clinical & Translational Science (the former PhD minor program), for totals of 17, 13, and 15 students respectively.

Click here for a gallery of the incoming students.

An additional 14 students are newly enrolled in Certificate Programs either in the Fundamentals of Clinical Research or Community & Clinical Outcomes Research. Students can elect for Capstone, Graduate or Professional Certificates depending on their goals. Many students begin with enrollment in a certificate program and transition to either the PhD or the Masters programs as the core curriculum is shared.

Beth Meyerand, one of the Directors of the TL1 program, comments,

Our TL1 trainees are all expected to complete the core curriculum as PhD students in either Clinical Investigation or Clinical & Translational Science. By enrolling in these programs, they receive a strong foundation in the essential competencies of clinical and translational research. It is a testament to the strength of the program that so many students recognize the value of these degrees.

Application materials, deadlines and other program material are found on the web pages for the Graduate Program in Clinical Investigation and the Certificate Programs.

Largest Class of Clinical Investigation Students Enrolled Fall 2017

Telephoto lens view of Bascom Hall, viewed through the trees on Library Mall during an late afternoon in spring.

Four PhD students and six masters degree students in Clinical Investigation started in September 2017, together with eight PhD students in Clinical and Translational Science (CTS, former PhD minor). They joined a select, very active community of students (31 current) participating in the degree programs administered by UW ICTR. In addition, six of the eight CTS students were also appointed to positions in the  TL1 training program for pre-doctoral scholars.

A complete list of doctoral and masters students entering in September.

Rob Lemanske, ICTR Deputy Executive Director and director of training for the graduate program, notes:

Rob Lemanske, MDWe are happy to welcome the largest incoming class ever in the eight years since the Clinical Investigation degree program was approved. In addition, half the incoming class initially worked on a Certificate in the Fundamentals of Clinical Research. By design, the Certificate shares a core of foundational courses with the master’s and the doctoral degree programs.

Hence, students can start with a certificate to test the waters for the fit of academics with their busy professional lives. Like many prior entrants into the program, nine out of ten entering students this year are returning adult students who are fitting coursework into new faculty, fellowship, and scientist positions. Welcome!

Applications to the Masters and PhD programs in Clinical Investigation for the 2018 class are due Feb 1.

Admissions this year is via a new online process through the UW Graduate School. Applications to the CTS (or PhD minor) program are accepted throughout the year. Read More.

ICTR also administers a TL1 Predoctoral Training Program as part of its Clinical and Translational Science Award from NIH. With the renewal of the ICTR grant this fall, we were able to increase the total number of trainees supported to 10 from the six in previous years.

This training program includes a stipend, health insurance, tuition and fees, travel funds, a monthly writing workshop, and biannual mentor meetings. Trainees must be pursuing either the PhD in Clinical Investigation or have added the PhD-CTS degree to their major field of study. The RFA for the 2018 TL1 Predoctoral Training Program will be released at the end of January, with applications due March 15.

A complete list of current TL1 trainees, their mentors, and fields of study (scroll down).



Addressing Health Disparities in Rural Areas: New PhD Graduate Uses Health Economics to Study Patient Choices

Street view of New Kensington, PA. Cropped from an original photo by Jon Dawson (CC BY-ND 2.0).

Marquita Decker-Palmer, MD, PhD, MPH, earned her PhD in Clinical Investigation in 2017 with a dissertation titled Modeling Health Preferences and Cost-Effectiveness of Current Breast Cancer Screening Technologies to Inform Policy, Practice, and Prevention Strategies.

In her new position as Research Assistant Professor in the Jefferson College of Population Health at Thomas Jefferson University, and Associate Director of the 1889 Jefferson Center for Population Health in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, she engages small town and rural community stakeholders in research aimed at improving population health.

These communities in rural Western Pennsylvania reside in a formerly wealthy area impoverished after the decline of the coal and steel industries. In working with them, Decker-Palmer will apply the multidisciplinary education she has obtained through the ICTR PhD in Clinical Investigation, including skills in health intervention design and implementation, econometric analysis, outcomes assessment, and measurement of health preferences.

Marquita Decker-Palmer, MD, PhD, MPHAs part of the Center for Population Health in Johnstown, PA, I will be working with community groups and local health systems to engage members of the public in making decisions about how to address key public health issues in the region – diabetes, obesity, addiction, tobacco use, depression, and suicide.

We hope to find innovative ways of improving population health in a way that is tailored to the needs of small towns and rural communities, which may differ from the ways we approach health at major academic medical centers. It will be fascinating and informative to see how best practices in population health may differ from urban to rural settings.

She began her work with ICTR through the Certificate program in the Fundamentals of Clinical Research as a post-doctoral research fellow in Surgical Oncology  (NCI T32 CA090217) in the UW-Madison Department of Surgery. After earning the certificate, Decker-Palmer was awarded a US Fulbright Scholarship grant to pursue health economics research on breast cancer screening at Erasmus University in the Netherlands. She found that academic experience so rewarding that she decided to pursue further research education as a doctoral trainee in health economics (NIMH T32 MH018029) with John Mullahy and David Vanness at the UW Department of Population Health Sciences.

Her PhD included an academic minor in Population Health. Vanness, her major advisor, notes,

David Vanness, PhDMarquita’s dissertation embodies the multidisciplinary team science approach that ICTR promotes. Her research breaks new ground by applying Bayesian statistical methods not just to the analysis of clinical outcomes, but also to the fundamental question of how patients think of their own quality of life during different phases of breast cancer screening and treatment.

Marquita’s work will help patients, clinicians, and policy-makers make better informed decisions about their health care. I am excited to follow her research career as she applies and extends her dissertation research into community-based projects.

Her dissertation committee consisted of two health economists (Vanness and Mullahy), a cancer epidemiologist (Amy Trentham-Dietz), a clinical radiologist (Elizabeth Burnside), and a philosopher (Daniel Hausman). The flexibility of the PhD program in Clinical Investigation allowed Decker-Palmer and  Vanness, to design a rigorous, multidisciplinary curriculum that prepared her for the next stage in her career.