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, full-time experience in basic, translational, or clinical research training. Fellows conduct research in eminent laboratories in Canada and the USA. Up to three 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.
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), the Paediatric Chairs of Canada and the March of Dimes.
The PSDP provides two to three years of support 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 to three 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 (not patient care) may request up to 10% patient contact time in Years One and Two. This request must be incorporated into the initial PSDP application. Candidates selected for a third year of funding may commit 15% time to clinical work including patient care within the sponsoring institution; again, moonlighting is strictly prohibited.
- Two years of continued support, after PSDP training, in a faculty position that provides at least 75% time for research. Funding for these two faculty years can be provided by the nominating institution, by the sponsoring institution, or by any other department of pediatrics that commits to 75% protected time for research. The nominating department must guarantee its best efforts in identifying such a position, but the PSDP trainee is free to consider competing offers from other departments, including the sponsoring department. Time not spent in research (25%) is available for teaching and clinical service.