Duke University School of Medicine Awarded $1.4 Million to Train Physician-Scientists to Address Alzheimer's Disease and Related Dementias

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded Duke University $1.4 million over four years to train physician-scientists to address Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (ADRDs).

The Stimulating Access to Research in Residency (StARR) R38 was awarded to a team of Duke University School of Medicine faculty led by Anthony Viera, M.D., MPH, chair and professor, Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, and Heather Whitson, M.D., MHS, associate professor of medicine and ophthalmology and director of the Duke Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development.

The mission of the Duke University Creating ADRD Researchers for the Next Generation-Stimulating Access to Research in Residency (CARiNG-StARR) Program is to train physician-scientists in biomedical research and cultivate investigators who will lead the development, implementation and evaluation of new translational and clinical modalities to address ADRDs.

Resident-investigators will be trained across three disciplines—family medicine, psychiatry and neurology—and will address a major gap in the development of physician-scientists prepared to contribute to ADRD research. Funds will support three resident-investigators for 12 months of research each year.

The program will consist of four training components:

  • Comprehensive didactics covering basic translational and clinical research and professional development with emphasis placed on research in ADRD
  • Development and completion of an ADRD research project and an individualized career development plan
  • Scholarly activity in the field of ADRD
  • Eligibility for board certification in family medicine, psychiatry or neurology, and continuation of clinical and research training in a sub-specialty or fellowship

An executive committee, led by Viera and Whitson, will comprise a CARiNG-STARR associate program director from the Office of Physician-Scientist Development, an expanded executive committee of residency program directors and a program coordinator. The program will be administered by the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health in partnership with the Duke Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development, the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, the Department of Neurology, and the Office of Physician-Scientist Development.