The PSDP provides a training environment in which talented young pediatricians address central problems in child health with the most current scientific tools. Ultimately, these pediatric scientists, dedicated to continuing careers in basic, translational, and clinical research, will translate research advances to improvements in clinical care for children. The PSDP also provides career development support for pediatricians committed to careers in academic medicine.
The PSDP is an intense postdoctoral experience in basic, translational, or clinical research training. Fellows conduct research in eminent laboratories in Canada and the USA. Two years of research training are funded by the Program after the completion of the clinical fellowship years. A sponsoring pediatric department supports the clinical fellowship apart from the circumstances described below. No patient care or clinical duties are allowed during the first two years of PSDP-supported training. Exceptions are made for up to 10% clinical time for clinical exposure related to the research project when prior approval from the Program Director is sought prior to the time of the application.
The PSDP is sponsored by The Association of Medical School Pediatric Department Chairs (AMSPDC). In a unique collaborative arrangement, the program is funded by grants from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) and numerous private agencies and foundations, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Pediatric Society, the Sick Kids Foundation (based in Toronto), and the March of Dimes.
The PSDP provides two to three years of training for pediatricians with an MD, DO or MD/PhD degree who will devote themselves to academic careers with a strong research component. Candidates must be nominated for the PSDP by the Chair of the department in which their residency training is being completed (nominating chair). The Chair of the department into which the candidate has been accepted for clinical fellowship training must also contribute a letter of support (sponsoring chair) affirming that the candidate will have no clinical or patient care responsibilities for the first two years of PSDP funding.
PSDP trainees will pursue the following career path:
- One year of clinical fellowship training in a sub-specialty area that will lead to sub-board eligibility. This training will be funded by the Fellow’s sponsoring department. Subspecialty programs, such as cardiology, critical care, emergency medicine, and neonatology, may cause fellows to extend their clinical training requirements to 18-24 months. In such cases, more than one year of clinical fellowship training may be required (see additional details in “Applying” section).
- Two years of PSDP-supported research training, typically in a laboratory outside the sponsoring department of pediatrics, in a field applicable to a pediatric subspecialty. These are the only years of training funded by the PSDP. In most cases, PSDP training will take place at the sponsoring institution. Ideally, trainees will be mentored by senior investigators in basic science departments, epidemiologists, statisticians, or health policy experts. The PSDP requires that the first two years of research training be devoted to full-time work in the laboratory, uninterrupted by clinical or patient care duties. Note: Moonlighting is considered clinical work, detracts from the research program, and is strictly prohibited. Candidates proposing patient-oriented research or translational research that requires patient contact may request up to 10% clinical time in Years One and Two. This request must be incorporated into the initial PSDP application. Clinical activities (numbers of days rounding, call nights, clinics) will be tracked while on the PSDP fellowship in order to ensure that it stays below the approved 10% allotment.
- PSDP Scholars in their second year of NICHD-funded research have the option to apply for a third year of funding. If granted, support for this third year comes from the sponsoring institution; fellows will be promoted to instructors (or equivalent rank) at a salary of at least $90,000. Fifteen percent clinical time is allowed during this third year of the PSDP program. Third-year PSDP Scholars attend the national meeting of the PSDP and receive all other benefits (e.g. career mentoring) of the PSDP program.
Salary $75,000 plus 15% fringe benefits and $24,750 for research supplies and related travel.
Salary $80,000 plus 15% fringe benefits and $24,750 for research supplies and related travel.
A third year of mentorship is awarded by a separate competitive application process to those candidates attaining satisfactory progress during the first 18 months. Funding for the third year will come from the sponsoring institution, not the PSDP. The institution must be prepared to appoint the third-year scholar as an instructor (or equivalent faculty rank), to protect the Scholar for 85% time in research, and to pay salary and fringe benefits consonant with the rank of instructor at the sponsoring institution.
The Facilities and Administration (F&A) cost rate for each year is 8%. There can be no re-budgeting of dollars among the salary, benefits, or supply/travel categories, nor can unexpended dollars in any category be carried over from year to year.