A recent report from the Institute of Medicine highlights the mandate for training academically oriented medical investigators in sleep medicine (see National Academic Press, 2006, “Sleep Disorders and Sleep Deprivation: An Unmet Public Health Problem”). This report urges that “all academic health centers strive to develop or transform the current sleep activities into interdisciplinary sleep programs. There is too much at stake—a large patient population, high levels of under-diagnosis and a high public health toll—for inaction.”
Each fellow will pursue a research project related to sleep medicine under the guidance of a faculty mentor. A broad range of projects and mentors are available in the basic sciences, translational biology, or clinical physiology and epidemiology.
In pursuing their research project, the fellow will gain exposure and training in all aspects of scientific investigation. Each fellow will learn how to formulate a cogent research plan, prepare a research protocol (for the Institutional Review Board or Animal Care and Use Committees), conduct research, analyze findings and present these findings in research seminars and national meetings. The fellow also will gain experience in preparing a grant application for fellowship funding and at least one original manuscript.
An essential component to the training experience consists of the preparation of a National Research Service Award grant application. This application should be prepared within the first year of fellowship. It provides the opportunity to present the background, significance and preliminary data for the fellow's major hypothesis, and to outline a research plan. The appropriate timing for this application is left to the discretion of the fellow and their faculty mentor.