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High impact biomedical research is increasingly conducted by large, transdisciplinary, multisite teams in an increasingly collaborative environment. Thriving in this environment requires robust teamwork skills, which are not acquired automatically in the course of traditional scientific education. Team science skills training does exist, but most is directed at clinical care teams, not research teams, and little is focused on the specific training needs of early-career investigators, whose early team leadership experiences may shape their career trajectories positively or negatively. Our research indicated a need for team science training designed specifically for early-career investigators.
To address this need, we designed and delivered a 2-day workshop focused on teaching team science skills to early-career investigators. We operationalized team science competencies, sought the advice of team science experts, and performed a needs assessment composed of a survey and a qualitative study. Through these multiple approaches, we identified and grouped training priorities into three broad training areas and developed four robust, hands-on workshop sessions.
Attendees comprised 30 pre- and post-doc fellows (TL1) and early-career faculty (KL2 and K12). We assessed impact with a pre- and post-workshop survey adapted from the Team Skills Scale. Results from the pre- and post-test Wilcoxon signed-rank analysis (n = 25) showed statistically significant improvement in team science skills and confidence. Open-ended responses indicated that the workshop focus was appropriate and well targeted to the trainees’ needs.
Although team science education is still very much in its infancy, these results suggest that training targeted to early-career investigators improves team skills and may foster improved collaboration.
The need to diversify the biomedical research workforce is well documented. The importance of fostering the careers of fledgling underrepresented background (URB) biomedical researchers is evident in light of the national and local scarcity of URB scientists in biomedical research. The Career Education and Enhancement for Health Care Research Diversity (CEED) program at the University of Pittsburgh Institute for Clinical Research Education (ICRE) was designed to promote career success and help seal the “leaky pipeline” for URB researchers. In this study, we aimed to quantify CEED’s effect on several key outcomes by comparing CEED Scholars to a matched set of URB ICRE trainees not enrolled in CEED using data collected over 10 years.
We collected survey data on CEED Scholars from 2007 to 2017 and created a matched set of URB trainees not enrolled in CEED using propensity score matching in a 1:1 ratio. Poisson regression was used to compare the rate of publications between CEED and non-CEED URB trainees after adjusting for baseline number of publications.
CEED has 45 graduates. Seventy-six percent are women, 78% are non-White, and 33% are Hispanic/Latino. Twenty-four CEED Scholars were matched to non-CEED URB trainees. Compared to matched URB trainees, CEED graduates had more peer-reviewed publications (p=0.0261) and were more likely to be an assistant professor (p=0.0145).
Programs that support URB researchers can help expand and diversify the biomedical research workforce. CEED has been successful despite the challenges of a small demographic pool.
Introduction: Early team experiences can influence the professional trajectories of early-career investigators profoundly, yet they remain underexplored in the team science literature, which has focused primarily on large, multisite teams led by established researchers. To better understand the unique challenges of teams led by early-career investigators, we conducted a qualitative pilot study.
Methods: Interviews were conducted with the principal investigator and members of 5 teams led by KL2 and K12 scholars at the University of Pittsburgh. A code book was developed and thematic analysis was conducted.
Results: Seven distinct themes emerged. Interview subjects reported a high level of trust and strong communication patterns on their teams; however, the data also suggested underlying tensions that have the potential to escalate into larger problems if unaddressed.
Conclusions: This study yields a deeper understanding of teams led by early-career investigators, which can help us provide appropriately targeted training and support.
Little has been published about competency-based education in academic medicine, in particular how competencies are or should be assessed. This paper re-examines a competency-based assessment for M.S. students in clinical research, and “assesses the assessment” 4 years into its implementation.
Data were gathered from student surveys and interviews with program advisors, and common themes were identified. We then made refinements to the assessment, and student surveys were administered to evaluate the impact of the changes.
Research results suggested the need to improve communication, time the assessment to align with skills development and opportunities for planning, streamline, and clarify expectations with examples and templates. After implementing these changes, data suggest that student satisfaction has improved without any reduction in academic rigor.
The effective implementation of competency-based training in clinical and translational research requires the development of a scholarly literature on effective methods of assessment. This paper contributes to that nascent body of research.
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