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Vanderbilt Interdisciplinary Hospital-based Systems of Care Research Training Program (VISTA)
NHLBI T32 Training Program

About the Program

VISTA’s aims are as follows: 

 1)  Foster the career development of translational researchers spanning emergency and hospital care, combining an individualized mentored experience with didactic coursework. 

2)  Utilize an integrated core curriculum to prepare postdoctoral trainees for a career in health systems research, with a focus on addressing barriers to translation and uptake of science in NHLBI priority areas.  

3)  Offer strong multidisciplinary training elements by incorporating clinical subject matter experts and translational scientists from complementary disciplines in the curriculum and as mentors. 

4)  Provide an administrative structure to support the program, give it cohesion, and oversee the trainees’ career development. 

5)  Recruit well-qualified and diverse postdoctoral trainees who are dedicated to a career in research, encouraging and supporting individuals from backgrounds underrepresented in biomedical research. 

6)  Evaluate the success of the program through both process and outcomes and implement continuous quality improvement procedures to enhance the program, with input from an expert Advisory Committee. 


We will provide junior investigators with role models and forums that demonstrate the intellectual productivity and practical benefits of multidisciplinary research in advancing human health. We endorse a team-based approach to filling knowledge gaps and translating discoveries into application. We have a thriving implementation science program; well-positioned Departments of Biomedical Informatics, Biostatistics, and Health Policy; expertise in stakeholder engagement; and diverse partners, including Meharry Medical College and Vanderbilt University School of Nursing.  


The VISTA training program will provide:

 1) advanced didactics, including degree program or focused coursework options

2) mentorship to prepare trainees for K-level scholarship

3) experiential learning through research


Scholars will be supported by broad institutional resources for training and development, including multidisciplinary Work in Progress sessions, clinical and translational research seminars, career development seminars, and peer-mentoring activities. Taken together, these resources provide an optimal environment for developing the next generation of scientists to lead hospital-based research in NHLBI-priority areas.


Scholarship Oversight Committee

Each VISTA scholar will be guided by an individualized multidisciplinary team of experienced mentors with clinical expertise in hospital-based care of heart, lung, blood, or sleep disorders and methodological expertise in discovery, evidence translation, data science, policy and epidemiology, and operations research, with a focus on health equity. With program faculty support, each scholar will identify a primary mentor after beginning the program and a Scholarship Oversight Committee (SOC) will be formed, tailored specifically to each trainee’s individual career goals, research interests, and methodologic needs. Each SOC will be comprised of experienced mentors:


1)    Primary Research Mentor

2)    Clinical Content Mentor

3)    Methodology Mentor

4)    Health Policy / Community Mentors


Individualized Career Development

As scholars develop an individualized career development plan with their SOC, they will create an associated training timeline with milestones to enable assessment of progress and achievement of learning objectives. All scholars will be required to work with their primary mentor and SOC to prepare a minimum of 1 manuscript or program evaluation amenable for publication in a peer-reviewed journal. 


The primary experiential learning activity and a critical component of training is the performance of a mentored research project, designed to lead to increasing independence as a LHS researcher. Scholars work with their primary mentor in the conception, design, data collection, analysis, interpretation, and communication of the findings of the project. Scholars will consult with their SOC, the methods lead, and each mentor's statistical support team multiple times during the conduct of their proposal. This collaboration will ensure comprehensive design and analysis principles are followed. Scholars will use the principles of research rigor and reproducibility to lead the process of study design, measure selection, subject recruitment, data collection, analysis, and interpretation. Potential VISTA mentors can be found here.


Dedicated Career Development Time 

Scholars are required to devote at least 40 hours per week of professional effort toward developing an academic career in learning health system research. The planned period of mentored research support is up to 2 years for each trainee, though some trainees may progress more quickly and transition to an extramural K award after 1-2 years. 

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