The overall goal for the Cleveland CREATE Scientists in Kidney, Urology, and Hematology is to develop systems and processes that support direct peer communication and near-peer mentoring amongst all trainees supported directly by the TL1 component of this award, and including those institutional trainees already supported by other NIH training mechanisms, such as Fellowships (Fs), Career Development Awards (Ks), Short-term Training Grants (T35s), Education Program Grants (R25s), and KUH-TN TL1 alumni.
The Networking Core aims to build a robust peer-to-peer support system and near-peer mentoring network, nurtured by our faculty trainers’ with longstanding teaching experience and genuine enthusiasm in supporting junior research careers. Cleveland offers unique capabilities for maintaining such robust network, due to the proximity of what is called the “Health-Tech Corridor”, which is a 3-mile thoroughfare that houses more than 170 biomedical, healthcare, and technology companies, together with major healthcare and 2- and 4- year education institutions. These entities include the Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center, MetroHealth Medical Center, bioscience incubators, including Bioenterprise and Cleveland Clinic Innovations, Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland State University. Thus, Cleveland health and biomedicine institutions and companies are geographically close, and conveniently connected by public transit.
The Networking Core aims to create a community of practice that will link trainees, mentors and potential program applicants, and to promote community outreach programs designed to sustain a professional network. These goals will be achieved by three strategic approaches to peer-to-peer support and near-peer mentoring network:
- Create a solid virtual and in-person community of practice that will ensure rapid flow of communication and shared awareness, will foster trust in a simple and informal way, and will increase the overall shared body of knowledge developed across the network;
- Create and maintain a near-peer pipeline from high school through a terminal degree, by establishing outreach programs at regional high schools and undergraduate institutions, building on the existing web of partnerships between the U2C institutions, the Cleveland Municipal School District (CMSD), local community colleges, and other regional science and cultural centers; and
- Develop trainees’ skills as peer and near-peer mentors through cultivating their collective competence. These activities are structured not to merely build a network of connections among the members of Cleveland CREATE, but rather to generate a shared domain of interest that will fuel their passion for translational research and sustain interest in addressing the outcomes most important to people with K-, U- and H-mission diseases and those that love them.