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In recent years, tremendous advances in molecular biology and diagnostic technologies have provided new insights into cellular physiology and human disease mechanisms. The translation of these advances into a better understanding of human pathophysiology requires a unique set of skills. The skills and knowledge required for translational research and clinical investigation differ from the techniques of outcomes research and epidemiology taught through schools of public health.

Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and Medical Center have been leaders in clinical investigators’ training for a number of years. In 1996 the Clinical Research Task Force recommended developing a Master’s program in clinical investigation to build upon Vanderbilt’s legacy for training clinical investigators. The Executive Faculty approved the Master of Science in Clinical Investigation (MSCI) Program of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in 1999. The initiative was led by Dr. Nancy J. Brown and Dr. Thomas A. Hazinski.

Vanderbilt’s MSCI program continues the University’s tradition of excellence in education and training in clinical and translational research.  Since 2000, MSCI trainees published over 8500 research articles since matriculation, including publications in NEJM, JAMA, and Lancet. Since the program’s inception in 2000, VU MSCI alumni and students have amassed $28.1M as principal investigators of K-awards, $54.7M as principal investigators of R-awards, and $109.7M in foundation grants.  Of the K-awardees, 65% converted to an R-award.  Nearly 90% of MSCI alumni pursue careers in academic medicine. Furthermore, Vanderbilt’s MSCI program maintains a 99% completion rate.