Erika Abramson, MD, MSc
Weill Cornell University
Sarah Armstrong, MD
Sara Johnson, PhD, MPH
Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
The APA Research Scholars Program is a three-year faculty development program designed to help APA members interested in enhancing their academic credentials to develop research skills and to plan, implement, and write-up a research project. The APA Research Scholars Program assists pediatric clinician-educators and clinician-researchers in developing themselves as fulfilled faculty members engaged in important and exciting high-quality child health research. If interested in developing skills in research, faculty at any stage of their careers and fellows in pediatrics, nursing, social work, nutrition, psychology, and other professions involved in caring for or doing research about children and families are welcome as research scholars.
The RSP includes:
- National research advisors are selected based on the scholar’s research interest who will be chosen from senior researchers in the US, will be assigned to each APA Research Scholar.
- Quarterly webinars and interactive sessions that cover coursework in research design and statistics as well as faculty-facilitated and peer-mentored research-in-progress sessions. Peer-mentoring groups include scholars with common interests in research topics and/or methods.
- An annual PAS full-day session that focuses on advanced research topics (e.g., using statistics software, grant preparation) together with career development and research-in-progress review. Research scholars also attend selected PAS conference workshops on topics such as qualitative research, writing manuscripts, writing grants, and reviewing abstracts and manuscripts.
- Over the 3 years, each scholar refines her/his research protocol with the mentorship of a local and national mentor, implements the research project, completes a project, and submits it for presentation and/or publication.
- Scholars complete the full curriculum, including projects, over 3-4 years. Successful scholars receive a Certificate of Excellence in Research Scholarship.
Enlist the support of your department for the program: Scholars are expected to commit 10% of their time to the program in order to complete the full curriculum, including projects, over 3 years. A tuition fee of $5,600 is charged to all scholars for their three years in the program. An additional application fee of $125 is charged at the time of submission of the application. The scholar also needs access to statistical software used in the program (SPSS), as well as specific statistical and research design/methods textbooks. Talk to your Division Director and Chair about these requirements early in the application process. Please contact the APA office if the application fee or paying full tuition in the current fiscal environment limits your ability to apply at this time.
- Make a commitment to:
- Attend quarterly webinars and prepare by doing required assignments and submitting them on Canvas and initiating meeting regularly with local/national mentors.
- Attend PAS each year, including participating in a full-day session during an extra day at the meeting and attending recommended workshops.
- Conduct a mentored research project (develop the aims and hypotheses, implement it, and present/publish it). Applications to the program must include a project proposal. Program faculty are available to discuss project ideas prior to application submission if needed. Projects may be modified after enrollment in the program after discussion with the program faculty and national advisor and with approval of the new topic by RSP co-directors.
- Identify a local mentor; initiate regular meetings with a local mentor and a national advisor. (Scholars are responsible for finding their own local mentors before they apply. If you would need guidance in identifying a mentor, contact the APA Office at least two months prior to the application deadline. The RSP will identify a national advisor for scholars who are accepted and enroll in the program.)
We are now accepting applications! Deadline to apply is November 5, 2021.
The applicant is responsible for collecting and electronically submitting the required signed statements from the supervisor and mentor as well as the letters of reference, and other parts of the application.
During the online application process, you will be asked to submit the following materials electronically online:
STEP 1. Personal information, curriculum vitae, and Statement of Agreement to Participate.
STEP 2. Project description (500 words + 250-word Personal Statement).
STEP 3. Required statement and Letter of Support from your Supervisor.
STEP 4. Required statement, Letter of Support, and biosketch from your Mentor.
STEP 5. Pay the $125 application fee and submit your application.
- Be a pediatric clinician, educator, or investigator, in early or mid-career, in general pediatrics, pediatric hospital medicine, child abuse pediatrics, developmental-behavioral pediatrics, pediatric emergency medicine, and other related disciplines who desires to increase their research skills.
- Arrange payment of a tuition fee of $5600, due 90 days after receiving the invoice. If payment is not received by this date, your position will be filled by an individual on the waitlist.
- Agree to commit 10% effort during the three years of the program participation; attend RSP teaching sessions; complete required assignments; and conduct an individual research project, under the guidance of a mentor that results in a peer-reviewed publication or presentation. A statement must be signed by the applicant and his / her supervisor agreeing to the 10% time commitment.
- Each applicant must select a project topic and mentor prior to applying for the program. RSP faculty is available for discussion of project ideas prior to application submission, if needed. Projects may be modified post program enrollment, after discussion with the scholar's mentor, assigned RSP faculty advisor, and the RSP Director. Scholars are responsible for finding their own local mentors. If you are unable to do so, RSP program administrators can facilitate connection with a mentor (contact the APA Office at least one month prior to the application deadline). A letter of agreement by the project mentor must be submitted with the application. .
- You must be a current member of the Academic Pediatric Association to enroll in the RSP.
- There is a $125 fee to apply for this program.
Who should apply to the Research Scholars Program?
- Faculty (both junior faculty and mid-career in pediatrics, nursing, social work, nutrition, psychology and other professions involved in caring for or doing research about children and families) are welcome as research scholars. Fellows in general pediatrics, pediatric hospital medicine, child abuse pediatrics, developmental-behavioral pediatrics, pediatric emergency medicine, and other pediatric subspecialties may also apply.
Who selects the scholars and how many will be selected? The RSP co-directors will select the scholars, after the applications have been reviewed by pediatric researchers. Numbers vary for each cohort.
What does the Research Scholar's Program cost? There is a $125 application fee. Accepted scholars pay tuition of $5600, typically payable 90 days after receiving the invoice. Operating costs are also partially subsidized by the Academic Pediatric Association. The tuition covers all three years of the program. In addition, scholars or scholar's institutions will need to support purchase/access to SPSS statistical software and three textbooks (research design, statistics, and qualitative research methods). Please contact the APA office if the application fee or paying full tuition in the current fiscal environment limits your ability to apply at this time.
Why is there an enrollment fee? The Research Scholars Program has significant operating expenses (coordination of the numerous faculty, website support for all the monthly sessions, PAS full day program, ongoing curriculum development, etc.), and the fee helps make it possible to sustain the program independently.
What are the criteria for acceptance? We are looking for well-thought-out project proposals that are likely to have a successful implementation, a strong well-articulated desire on the part of the applicant to pursue research, and good supporting documentation from the Scholar's institution and mentor.
Will the program accept fellows as well as faculty? Fellows who plan an academic career in pediatrics may apply, if they have decided to sustain a significant focus on research in their careers and their fellowship has not provided them with the breadth and depth needed in research training and experience. The three-year duration of the Research Scholars Program can create complexity for fellows who will move on to a faculty position midway through the program. In this case, the scholar's new supervisor in a faculty position must agree to support continuation of the project and potentially share payment of the tuition fee. Shortening tenure in the program to 2 years is not an option.
Is this program designed only for new faculty members, or can mid-career faculty also apply? We encourage both new faculty and those with more experience who want to develop new skills to enhance their academic repertoire to apply.
May pediatric subspecialists apply? Yes, subspecialists are welcome and encouraged to participate. The focus of the program is research skill development, not any particular subspecialty. APA membership is a requirement.
Must the Scholar be an MD to apply? No, the program will consider applications from a faculty member or postdoctoral fellow with an MD, PhD, or other doctoral degree relevant to child health and research.
Does the Research Scholars Program provide financial or travel support to Scholars? No, we have no funds for this purpose. Your supervisor's support for the tuition fee, time protection, project costs, and travel to the Pediatric Academic Societies meeting will be required for you to participate. Some Scholars may have access to grant support, e.g., through faculty development grants, to supplement local resources.
What exactly does the 10% time commitment mean? Negotiation of the supervisor's agreement to protect the scholar's time is the responsibility of the scholar. Our expectation is that Scholars will be doing projects that are a direct contribution to their department or institution and that fit into their current job commitments or can be negotiated to become a part of the Scholar's job commitments. Program participation should also benefit the department by making the Scholar more effective as a serious academic faculty member, and more promotable.
How should I choose a local mentor? Your mentor does not need to be a pediatrician or a member of your department, but should have expertise in a key area (content and/or methodology) related to your project and have experience as an independent researcher. A good mentor is approachable and available, and personally committed to the mentee's success. Ideally, a scholar's mentor is within their institution, to facilitate frequent meetings. Scholars must make their own arrangements with mentors, but the Research Scholars Program faculty can help identify a potential mentor upon request. The mentor's letter and qualifications will be reviewed as part of the application process.
What is Research Scholars Program national advisor? All Scholars have a self-selected local mentor, and in addition are assigned a Research Scholars Program national advisor. The mentor/advisor will track progress on the Scholar's project, providing project assistance as problems are encountered, and will be available for more in-depth conversations regarding the design and implementation of the research project. The Research Scholars Program national mentor/advisor will also offer career guidance. In addition, Scholars receive mentorship from the program leadership and faculty who function as small group leaders. Furthermore, scholars act as peer-mentors to their colleagues.