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Stanford Medicine recently became the national center for a program to improve the diversity and increase the number of physician-scientists who are experts in Type 1 diabetes.
January 24, 2023 – By Erin Digitale
Stanford Medicine is now the coordinating center for a national training program for early-career physician-scientists who plan to focus on Type 1 diabetes. The program, called DiabDocs, is funded by a $12 million, five-year grant from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.
DiabDocs helps endocrinologists build their expertise in Type 1 diabetes research and treatment. The program was previously funded at five U.S. institutions, including Stanford Medicine, with training available only at those locations. Now, early-career physicians may take part from anywhere in the country.
The program provides the physician-scientists with one to three years of training and research experience. The goal is for the program participants to obtain larger career development awards through the National Institutes of Health so they can build research programs independently. Each participant will have one scientific mentor at their own institution and one at another institution to help them develop their research projects. All will participate in monthly training sessions and an annual program retreat, as well as other opportunities such as a visiting scholar exchange program.
The geographic broadening of DiabDocs’s training opportunities is intended to increase the diversity of the diabetes physician workforce, according to David Maahs, who co-directs the program.
“Type 1 diabetes affects children and adults from all population groups,” said Maahs, MD, PhD, the Lucile Salter Packard Professor in Pediatrics and division chief of pediatric endocrinology at Stanford Medicine Children’s Health. “Diversifying the physicians who treat and study Type 1 diabetes will help bring wider perspectives to patients’ care and to research on what they need to succeed. We are thrilled that Stanford Medicine will be the coordinating center for this five-year program.”
Linda DiMeglio, MD, professor of pediatrics at the Indiana University School of Medicine, is co-directing the DiabDocs program with Maahs.
As hosts of the coordinating center, Maahs and program administrator Komal Dasani will run the program’s application process, administer program finances and organize educational sessions for the participants.
In addition to fostering more diversity among Type 1 diabetes experts, the program will expand the pipeline of diabetes research and increase the number of mentors in the discipline, Maahs said.
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