General Information

The Post-doctoral Master of Science in Clinical and Translational Research program (MSc) is a joint academic offering between the School of Medicine and the School of Health Professions. Its curriculum for the post-doctoral Master of Science in Clinical Research was developed with the support of a one-year planning grant awarded in 2001 by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) – Planning Grant for Clinical Research Training in Minority Institutions RFA-AR-00-009 and implemented with a five year grant obtained from NIH Clinical Research Education and Career Development (CRECD) in Minority Institutions. This grant, R25 RR17589, was approved on September 29, 2002 for five years and the 1st class of scholars was admitted on 2003. The R25 RR17589 grant was approved for a second cycle of 5 years from 2007-2012 and a third cycle grant R25 MD007607 was approved from 2012-2017. In 2008, both Schools joined again in a successful effort and obtained an Endowment of 15 million from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) / National Institutes of Health (NIH) entitled “HISPANICS-IN-RESEARCH CAPABILITY: SoHP & SoM Partnership (HIREC), with the mission to expand and sustain high quality clinical and translational research training program and research infrastructure that will enhance minority health and increase health disparities research activities. One of HiREC’s main activities was to develop a proposal for a curricular revision of the MSc to include the core competencies defined by NIH for a graduate degree in clinical and translational sciences. The curricular revision was approved by the UPR Board of Trustees to start August 2012 with its first class, Scholars 2012.

This program provides the scholars the opportunity to integrate courses with a mentor-based research experience to become independently funded and committed clinical researchers that will be able to develop culturally appropriate research aimed at reducing health disparities in Hispanic populations, conduct ethically responsible clinical research, build and lead effective collaborative networks in their area(s) of clinical research interest, communicate effectively in writing and orally, be able to work collaboratively, interdependently and effectively with other disciplines on the clinical research team and become a lifelong self-directed learner.

The program acknowledges that reinforcing multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary collaborations will enable to provide experiences that will help the Scholars develop the necessary research competencies in clinical and translational research. In 2012 the MSc program expand the applicant pool through new partnerships with: University of Puerto Rico Río Piedras Campus, University of Puerto Rico Mayagüez Campus, Ponce School of Medicine and Health Sciences (Ponce SoM HS), Universidad Central del Caribe (UCC), Universidad del Turabo, Sistema Ana G. Méndez, Universidad Carlos Albizu.

Since the program started in 2003 it has admitted 68 Scholars from multiple disciplines and specializations which are distributed as follows: 32 medical doctors, 14 PhD’s, 13 from dental medicine, 6 from allied health, 2 from public health and 1 from pharmacy.

Mission

The program’s mission is to promote the development of multidisciplinary clinical scientific teams working in collaboration toward the attainment of two common goals: improvement in quality of life and decrease health disparities. In the research component the program will target specific health conditions of high priority to the Hispanic population.

Philosophy

The Medical Sciences Campus-University of Puerto Rico (MSC-UPR) is explicit in its mission to foster education, service, and research that will help improve the overall health of the Puerto Rican population. Consonant with this effort, the MSC-UPR assumes the responsibility to prepare health professionals that will excel in their participation in the health care team through the excellence of its academic programs, facilitating interdisciplinary education and practice, and fostering research collaboration. The MSc program will contribute to the attainment of this mission by bringing scholars from different disciplines together in small group learning situations facilitating research interaction among disciplines and enhancing the team approach to problem solving.

The curriculum of the program is designed to offer candidates who have demonstrated an interest to pursue an academic career in their respective disciplines, the learning of methodologies, skills and competencies required to carry out clinical and translational research studies. The program will provide scholars the opportunity to integrate a didactic curriculum with a mentor-based research experience to become independent, funded and committed clinical investigators. The proposed program will also promote conducting studies to reduce health disparities and advance clinical research for the Hispanic population, not only at our institution, but also in Puerto Rico and the USA.

The goals of the MSc program since its creation in 2001 were visionary in its formulation and are consonant with the intended goals of the NIH to facilitate multidisciplinary research teams that will collaborate in the translation of research findings to improve people’s quality of life.

The MSc program goals are: preparation of independent and committed clinical investigators, develop multidisciplinary scientific teams, reduce health disparities and improve quality of life.

Core Competencies

At the end of the graduate program, the Scholar will demonstrate the following competencies:

1. Be able to develop and implement ethnically and culturally appropriate clinical and translational research aimed at reducing health disparities in Hispanic populations.
2. Conduct ethically responsible clinical and translational research.
3. Build and lead effective collaborative networks in one’s area(s) of clinical and translational research interest.
4. Communicate effectively in writing and orally (unless a handicap precludes one of these forms of communication).
5. Work collaboratively with other disciplines on the clinical and translational research team.
6. Become a lifelong self-directed learner.

Research Areas

The Post-doctoral master program targets specific health conditions of high priority to the Hispanic population based on the mortality and morbidity trends in Puerto Rico. Specific targeted areas of research are consonant with the MSc mission. The main areas that will be given priority are:

–  Drug abuse and addiction including
–  HIV
–  Alcohol
–  Tobacco
–  Aging related conditions
–  Reproductive medicine
–  Bone, joints, muscles and skin diseases
–  Cancer
–  Metabolic diseases
–  Diabetes
–  Cardiovascular diseases
–  Respiratory diseases
–  Mental health
–  Oral health

Admission

The admission process for the Post-doctoral Master of Science in Clinical and Translational Research (MSc) is competitive and quantitative. All applicants are screened administratively for completeness and adherence to requirements. Applicants meeting all application requirements will be evaluated and ranked according to the admission formula. The admission formula considers three main aspects: 1) General Point Average; 2) Personal and Professional Characteristics (PPC) and 3) Performance-Based-Interview (PBI).

1) General Point Average (GPA) (10%) – The GPA considered for admission is the doctoral degree GPA. The minimum doctoral general grade point average required is 3.0 based on a 4.0 scale.

2) Personal and Professional Characteristics (PPC) (45%) – An evaluation document with specific criteria is used to assess the personal and professional characteristics. The information is obtained from the Curriculum Vitae, letters of recommendation, personal statement and research intention letter. Members of the Admissions Committee evaluate these documents independently.

3) Performance Based Interview (PBI) (45%) – The interview questions are based on the competencies needed by the applicant to successfully complete the program. The answers by the applicants are based on past experiences. Evaluation criteria are designed to measure knowledge, skills, attitude, ability, and experience of the candidate that will help him/her to achieve a successful performance during the program.

The maximum number of candidates to be admitted to the post-doctoral Master of Science in Clinical and Translational Research program for August 2014 will be up to ten (10) Scholars.

Qualified post-doctoral candidates can compete for an NIH- Fellowship if funding is available.

 

Admission Requirements for NIH Fellowship Candidates

–  There will be at least three (3) NIH Fellowships
–  These awards will be offered to the top ranked candidates that qualify
–  Candidates must be from one of our partner institutions* or UPR campuses
–  Candidates must be USA citizen or resident

1.  The program will competitively evaluate all interested candidates from accredited institutions.  Potential NIH-Candidates include:

–  Junior Faculty within seven years of their first faculty appointment as Assistant Professor
–  Postdoctoral candidates within seven years of completion of their doctoral degree
–  Postdoctoral trainees such as: Interns, Residents and Fellows
– Relevant clinical doctorate:
–  Degrees include: M.D., D.D.S., D.M.D., D.O., O.D., N.D. (Doctor of Naturopathy), Ph.D. and Pharm. D.
–  Also individuals with doctoral degrees in basic sciences, nursing, clinical psychology, engineering, education, social sciences, economics or those who want to become involved in clinical research will be considered.

 

Admission Requirements for Non-NIH Candidates

1. The program will competitively evaluate all interested candidates from accredited institutions. Potential Non-NIH candidates can include:
– Faculty
– Postdoctoral candidates
– Postdoctoral trainees such as: Interns, Residents and Fellows
– Relevant clinical doctorate:
– Degrees include: M.D., D.D.S., D.M.D., D.O., O.D., N.D. (Doctor of Naturopathy), Ph.D. and Pharm. D.
– Also individuals with doctoral degrees in basic sciences, nursing, clinical psychology, engineering, education, social sciences, economics or those who want to become involved in clinical research will be considered.

 

Other Admission Requirements for NIH Fellowship and Non-NIH Candidates

– Evidence of commitment for fifty percent (50%) release time for the first year and seventy-five (75%) release time for the second year of studies is required.
– Fluency in English and Spanish are required.

Application Requirements

I. Important Dates to Remember
APPLICATION DEADLINE FOR AUGUST 2018JANUARY 30st, 2018
DEADLINE TO SUBMIT ALL REQUIRED DOCUMENTS: FEBRUARY 27TH, 2018
DATE OF ANNOUNCEMENT OF ADMISSION RESULTS: May 2018

II. Required Application Documents: 
1. Non-refundable Application fee
2. Medical Sciences Campus Application Form
3. Curriculum Vitae
4. Two official transcripts from the institution granting the doctoral or master’s degree in addition to the grades in any graduate course(s) or the average obtained in a degree taken after the doctoral degree
5. Two Letters of recommendation from individuals acquainted with the applicant’s science-research related activities
6. One-page Personal statement detailing how this program will contribute to the candidate career goals
7. A two-page Research intention letter in one of the program’s relevant health areas.
8. Two Formal Commitment Letters approving 50% release time for the first year and 75% release time for the second year to attend this program by: (i) Dean and (ii) Immediate Supervisor (Department Chair, Division Director or Program Director).

ALL REQUIRED DOCUMENTS MUST BE MAILED OR E-MAILED TO:
Letters of recommendation must be sent in a sealed envelop by regular mail to the above address.

Ms. Vilma Santiago
Admissions Officer
Postdoctoral Master in Clinical and Translational Research Program
Oficina Central de Admisiones
P. O. Box 365067
San Juan, PR 00936-5067
E-mail: vilma.santiago@upr.edu

NOTE: Please be aware that Ms. Vilma Santiago will only be answering questions regarding the application process and/or application status process. If you have any question regarding the program, please contact the Program Admission’s Coordinator: Prof. Maria T. San Martin at (787) 758-2525 ext. 1689 or you can e-mail to: maria.sanmartin@upr.edu

Tuition

The Postdoctoral Master of Science in Clinical and Translational Research offers, to candidates who qualifies, the opportunity to compete for an NIH- Fellowship if funding is available. The NIH Fellowship for Scholars 2018 includes:

– Registration Fee
– First year up to $16,000.00
– Second Year up to $8,000.00
– Research Expenses
– Fort he second year up to $8,500.00
– Travel Expenses
– First and second year up to $1,500 each
– Salary Support for Release Time
– According to available NIH support

Candidates that do not meet the requirement criteria to compete for the NIH-Fellowship are considered NON-NIH Scholars. Tuition fro the Non-NIH Scholars 2014 are:

– Candidates from UPR and Partner Institutions:
– Registration fee for the first and second year is $7,500 each.
– If accepted, there are additional fees, such as: technology and facilities fee.
– Candidates from other institutions:
– Registration fee is $15,000 for the first year and $7,500 for the second year.
– For all non-NIH MSc candidates: the tuition paid for the second year of studies, $7,500, is available for the Scholars’ research expenses upon request, justification and approval by the program’s Director.
– If accepted, there are additional fees, such as: technology and facilities fee.

Financial Aid

Financial Aid is provided for those who qualify. Information can be obtained at the following link:
http://www.rcm.upr.edu/estudiantes/AsistenciaEconomica/AsistenciaEconomica.aspx

For more information, please contact:
Mr. Rafael Solis
Director, Financial Aid Office, Medical Sciences Campus, University of Puerto Rico
P. O. Box 365067
San Juan, P.R. 00936-5067
Direct Phone: (787) 763-7170, Exts. (787) 728-2525 – 5205, 5206
Email: rafael.solis@upr.edu

Curriculum

The specialized competency-based curriculum of the post-doctoral Master of Science in Clinical and Translational Research (MSc) consists of a total of 30 semester credits to be completed in two years. The two major components are: The didactic core component has 24 semester credits and the research component is equivalent to a one-year research project and 6 semester credits. The MSc program provides scholars the opportunity to integrate a didactic curriculum with a mentor-based research experience to become independently funded and committed clinical researchers.

The program’s curriculum is designed to meet the need for formal academic training in quantitative, qualitative, and other methodological principles of clinical research, including patient-oriented research, epidemiologic and behavioral studies, outcomes research, and health services research. The principles and practices of adult learning theory and of problem-based learning will be applied to better ensure that graduates will become competent lifelong self-directed learners. Graduates of the post-doctoral program will be trained to plan original clinical research with adequate sample size, sampling methods, well-defined diagnostic criteria, and effective control of confounding variables.

The six competency domains are: research, professionalism/ ethics, leadership, communication, interdisciplinary collaboration, and life-long self-directed learning.

Scholar Research Committee

The Scholar’s Research Committee Composition will be composed of at least three individuals. Members of this committee must be chosen on the basis of their expertise and interests related to the Scholar’s research project. It is expected that they will actively provide help and guidance to the scholar in the development of the research project. Suggestions for members of the Scholar’s Research Committee can be consulted with the Clinical Research Coordinator.

A primary mentor is a faculty member who has particular skills and resources that are important to the scholar’s chosen project and who have agreed to work with the scholar on that project. The primary mentor will be the chair of the Scholar’s Research Committee. The primary Mentor will lead the Research Committee and is the person directly involved with the design of the research proposal and oversees the progress of the research project. The mentor will be a recognized expert in the research topic. The mentor will certify when the scholar has completed the clinical research project.

If the student’s research requires expertise that is not covered by any faculty or researcher from UPR-MSC, a mentor from outside the Institution may be appointed. In this case the co-Mentor should be from the Institution. They must meet with the scholar regularly.

The other members of the Student’s Research Committee will be chosen on the basis of their expertise and interest related to the research project. The role of these members will be to provide help and guidance to the scholar as needed, as well as monitor their research progress.

 

Senior Advisors Research Committee

Critical to a Research Training Program ability to train clinical researchers are the training curriculum and the institutional research milieu. Mentored research is a key component of these programs and the Senior Investigators roles will play a critical part in its ongoing efforts to pursue.

New investigators lack the experience and training in some areas necessary for successful completion of the work they are proposing therefore senior investigators can provide valuable preliminary feedback on how reviewers may react to the proposed research.

The Senior Advisor Program is a network of senior clinical investigators that helps new investigators leverage the knowledge and first-hand expertise in becoming clinical researchers. Such mechanism may be especially relevant to clinical/ translational research progress at institutions with limited human or monetary resources. Successful proposals usually are backed up by the help of experienced senior researchers that act as “friendly” reviewers in providing guidance and thoughtful critical feedback.

The guidelines for their role as research advisors/reviewer are as follows:
– Give an initial evaluation of the work that is constructive and emphasize the strengths of the research, and the value of the work.
– Give specific suggestions, when possible, for enhancing the scope of the research
– Give the new investigator ideas about how to carry their research forward, with the final goal of gaining independent funding.

Members of the senior Advisors Research Committee:

– Roberto A Calle, MD; Executive Director of Pfizer Global Research & Development (Co-Chair); Metabolic Disorders Steering The Committee Biomarkers Consortium, Bethesda, MD
– María José Crespo, PhD, FAHA; Professor of Physiology and Biophysics, Medical Sciences Campus, UPR
– Carlos Isales, MD; Professor, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, School of Medicne, MSC-UPR; Medicine and Cellular Biology and Anatomy Director of the Georgia Regents University Institute of Regenerative and Reparative Medicine, Augusta, GA
– Edna E Mora, MD; Professor of Surgery Associate Professor, University of Puerto Rico Comprehensive Cancer Center
– Angel Roman Franco, MD; Professor of Pathology, Medical Sciences Campus, UPR
– Eduardo Santiago Delpin, MD; Distinguished Professor of Surgery, Chairman of the Puerto Rico Transplant Program, PR

Seminar Series

Friday Seminar Series is a non-credit, compulsory, career development opportunity that takes place every Friday at noon. During this activity the scholars have the opportunity to meet senior Investigators as well as promising young ones whom come as guest speakers to these seminars.

As part of the Research Protocol Development Course (INCL 6056) the Scholars will present, the research question and the study design in the Friday Seminars to faculty, Scholars and their Research Committee. The presence of one member, preferably the Primary Mentor, of the Scholar’s Research Committee in these presentations is mandatory.

The purpose of these presentations is to demonstrate: (1) that the scholar has a feasible idea and later plan, (2) confidently and coherently explains why the approach is both significant and doable, and. (3) that he/she can respond effectively to criticism. During the scholars presentations they are able to develop oral presentation skills and network.

Contact

Prof. María T. San Martín
Program Coordinator
787-758-2525 x. 1689, 1691

University of Puerto Rico
PO Box 365067
San Juan, PR 00936-5067

Email: maria.sanmartin@upr.edu