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Within the Biostatistics, Epidemiology, and Research Design (BERD) component of the Northwestern University Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute, we created a mentoring program to complement training provided by the associated Multidisciplinary Career Development Program (KL2). Called Research design Analysis Methods Program (RAMP) Mentors, the program provides each KL2 scholar with individualized, hands-on mentoring in biostatistics, epidemiology, informatics, and related fields, with the goal of building multidisciplinary research teams. From 2015 to 2019, RAMP Mentors paired 8 KL2 scholars with 16 individually selected mentors. Mentors had funded/protected time to meet at least monthly with their scholar to provide advice and instruction on methods for ongoing research, including incorporating novel techniques. RAMP Mentors has been evaluated through focus groups and surveys. KL2 scholars reported high satisfaction with RAMP Mentors and confidence in their ability to establish and maintain methodologic collaborations. Compared with other Northwestern University K awardees, KL2 scholars reported higher confidence in obtaining research funding, including subsequent K or R awards, and selecting appropriate, up-to-date research methods. RAMP Mentors is a promising partnership between a BERD group and KL2 program, promoting methodologic education and building multidisciplinary research teams for junior investigators pursuing clinical and translational research.
Although death by neurologic criteria (brain death) is legally recognized throughout the United States, state laws and clinical practice vary concerning three key issues: (1) the medical standards used to determine death by neurologic criteria, (2) management of family objections before determination of death by neurologic criteria, and (3) management of religious objections to declaration of death by neurologic criteria. The American Academy of Neurology and other medical stakeholder organizations involved in the determination of death by neurologic criteria have undertaken concerted action to address variation in clinical practice in order to ensure the integrity of brain death determination. To complement this effort, state policymakers must revise legislation on the use of neurologic criteria to declare death. We review the legal history and current laws regarding neurologic criteria to declare death and offer proposed revisions to the Uniform Determination of Death Act (UDDA) and the rationale for these recommendations.