The UCSF-KPNC Urologic Epidemiology (UroEpi) K12 Career Development Program
Overview of the UroEpi Program
The UroEpi K12 program seeks to recruit and support junior faculty researchers from diverse disciplines who are committed to advancing understanding of the incidence, progression, risk factors, impact, and/or prevention and treatment of non-malignant urologic conditions.
UroEpi scholars will receive career development training and support to develop the skills and accomplishments necessary to become outstanding investigators capable of spearheading high-impact research programs in non-malignant urologic epidemiology. Successful scholars will ultimately use the program to obtain external NIH or other federal research funding as well as tenure track or equivalent academic research positions.
The UroEpi K12 program builds upon a long and successful history of collaboration between the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) and the Kaiser Permanente Northern California (KPNC) Division of Research (DOR) in pursuing epidemiologic research and sustaining high-quality research training programs.
To be a UroEpi scholar, candidates must have either a doctoral level medical degree (MD or DO) or a PhD, as well as a commitment to conducting epidemiologic research relevant to non-cancerous urologic conditions or outcomes. The UroEpi program encourages applications from both clinically trained urologists as well as from scholars outside of the field of urology, since the intent of the program is to bring additional expertise in epidemiology as well as other medical and surgical disciplines to advance the field of urologic epidemiologic research.
Scholars may propose to conduct research in a variety of epidemiologic and allied disciplines, including but not limited to traditional clinical epidemiology, genetic epidemiology, pharmaco-epidemiology, cost-effectiveness analysis, and/or interventional research. Research programs may focus on patient populations ranging from infants to the aged, without restriction as to gender. Basic science research such as cell and molecular biology, biochemistry, or tissue engineering research is not supported by this program, nor is research focused exclusively on urologic cancers.
Specific eligibility criteria
- Scholars must have a doctoral level degree such as an MD, DO, MD/PhD, or PhD degree. Graduating residents and postdoctoral fellows are encouraged to apply.
- Scholars should have no more than 5 years of postdoctoral research experience, and not more than 10 years should have elapsed since receiving the terminal doctoral degree. Time spent in clinical fellowships is not considered postdoctoral research training.
- Scholars should be dedicated to pursuing epidemiologic research in non-malignant urologic disease and be able to demonstrate prior productivity in pursuing research in this field or a related field.
- Candidates cannot already have been awarded a major independent research grant (e.g., R01 or R01-equivalent) as a principal investigator, nor have received a prior independent K award (e.g., K23, K08)
- Scholars must be a US citizen or have a valid permanent resident card (i.e., green card) to live and work permanently in the US.
- Final selection of scholars must be approved by NIDDK staff as well as the chair or head of the department in which the appointment will be based.
Applications for UroEpi K12 Scholar positions will be considered by the Program Directors on a rolling basis. At any given time, the program is expected to support one UCSF-based scholar and one KPNC-based scholar, although there may be limited periods of overlap between scholars at the same site.
Prior to submitting a formal application, interested applicants should send a curriculum vitae and cover letter to one of the Program Directors, Alison Huang, MD, MAS, or Stephen Van Den Eeden, PhD, in order to introduce their interest and/or background in urologic research, potential research mentors based at UCSF or KPNC, and discuss possible areas of research as a future UroEpi Scholar.
Potentially eligible candidates should work with the Program Directors and their selected potential mentors to develop a draft UroEpi Independent Development Plan, including mentoring relationships that can be formalized upon successful acceptance into the program. With input from the Program Directors and potential mentors, applicants should then submit full application packets to the Program Directors that include:
1) NIH-style biosketch (see https://osr.ucsf.edu/content/nih-biographical-sketch-format for more information)
2) Evidence of MD/DO degree and clinical training; or evidence of PhD or other degree (e.g. MPH, etc.),
3) Medical school or graduate education transcripts, if applicable
4) A 1-3 page Statement of Background, Research Interests, and Goals. The statement should identify possible research resources available through the lead mentor
5) Early draft (1-3 pages, with mentor input) of a UroEpi Career Development Plan. The plan should be developed under the guidance of a Program Director. It will identify a possible lead, co- and career mentor, and explain the candidate’s career and research goals
6) Three letters of recommendation, of which at least two of which should be from experienced epidemiologic or clinical researchers familiar with the candidate’s past work.
Successful applicants will be able to provide evidence of prior research experience in medical or graduate school or postdoctoral programs, a passion for epidemiologic or clinical research and/or advancing understanding of urologic health outcomes, an outstanding academic record, and prior authored publications, as well as strong letters of support. The most qualified candidates who have demonstrated their potential to develop an independent multidisciplinary career in epidemiologic research related to non-malignant urologic medicine will be selected.
The following specific criteria will be used to evaluate all applicants:
1) The quality of previous training and accomplishments
2) The importance of the research area and question
3) The quality and feasibility of the research plan
4) The strength and feasibility of the training plan
5) The level of support from the mentored research environment
Successful applicants at UCSF will receive a faculty appointment as Clinical Instructor or Assistant Professor (based on their qualifications) in the UCSF Department of Urology or in another appropriate department. Scholars who are also clinicians will practice part-time and/or supervise clinical trainees at UCSF (typically up to 25% effort for non-urologist clinicians and 50% for urologic surgeons), and their salaries will be commensurate with their titles and clinical responsibilities. All Scholars will be provided with a combined package of departmental support, research facilities, and resources to allow scholars a minimum of 75% protected time for research (or 50% for urologic surgeons).
Successful applicants placed at KPNC will receive a scientific staff appointment in the Division of Research. Scholars who are clinicians and desire to practice will work will need to work with Dr. Van Den Eeden to arrange a clinical appointment with an appropriate department prior to entry into the program. All Scholars will be provided with a combined package of departmental support, research facilities, and resources to allow scholars a minimum of 75% protected time for research (or 50% for surgical specialties).
Scholar appointments are typically 3 years in duration, although scholars are encouraged to transition to other types of NIH career development grants (e.g., K01, K08, or K23 grants) before the end of 3 years. In some cases, a longer period of support may be approved for scholars who have not had any postdoctoral research training prior to their K12 appointment.
Past and Current Scholars
Scholars will be matched with a team of experienced mentors from urology, epidemiology, and/or other relevant disciplines, who will assure that scholars are integrated into an epidemiologic or clinical and translational program at UCSF and/or KPNC. Mentors will support scholar research by providing access to resources for research projects, providing methodologic guidance, advocating for scholars within their divisions or departments at UCSF or KPNC, and integrating scholar training in core disciplines critical to their future success. Each mentor team will be comprised of at least one primary research mentor, one co-mentor, and other scientific advisors as appropriate. Additionally, UroEpi Program Directors will serve as additional career mentors and recruit other career mentors for Scholars as appropriate.
Career Development Plan
Upon entering the UroEpi program, each Scholar will meet with the UroEpi K12 Program Directors, mentors identified in their UroEpi Career Development Plan, and members of the Advisory Committee. This group will recommend a final mentoring team that will guide the Scholar in developing an appropriate portfolio of research projects, training experiences, and career development activities.
With the input of the Program Directors and each Scholar's mentors, a working 3-5 year plan will be established for each Scholar. Each Scholar's plan will highlight research interests and career goals, as well as the particular plan for developing content and methodological expertise as well as communication and leadership skills. Each plan will outline clear steps, including a specific didactic curriculum, a research plan, and a mentoring plan. The plan will also define the limited clinical and teaching activities expected of each Scholar.
Scholar Training Experiences
UroEpi Scholars based at UCSF will have the opportunity to participate in the UCSF Clinical and Translational Science Institute’s K Scholar Multidisciplinary Seminar Program. This successful weekly multidisciplinary seminar program is open to all K12, KL2, and independent K Scholars at UCSF -- over 50 junior faculty researchers-- of which over half have research programs focused on epidemiology. A central component of this seminar series are the weekly Works-in-Progress sessions in which each scholar gives an informal presentation on an aspect of their ongoing research four to six times per year and receives feedback from their peers as well as from experienced mentors and core methodologists. These seminars provide an effective forum for discussing real-time issues related to study design, data collection, analysis, manuscript-writing, research presentation, and grant proposal preparation, in addition to providing an opportunity to foster interdisciplinary collaboration.
UroEpi Scholars based at KPNC will participate in KPNC’s Young Scientist Program and Delivery Science Fellowship Program, which include regular monthly meetings that cover all aspects of the research process, including conceptualizing research ideas, writing proposals, obtaining feedback on proposals or presentations, and ethics and human protection issues. In addition, UroEpi Scholars based at KPNC may take part in the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Seminar Series. Current participants in these programs include 10 junior investigators (post-doctoral research fellows and junior faculty members) who conduct a range of research at KPNC. The faculty leaders of this K12 program and other KPNC Fellowship Programs (e.g., the KPNC Delivery Science Fellowship Program) will work together to integrate the K12 Scholars in these activities in order to make these sessions highly interactive and productive for the Scholars.
Scholar Continuing Review Process
Scholars will undergo formal biannual review of their career development plans and progress toward program milestones, in addition to monthly informal review meetings with their career mentors.
Continuing participation in the UroEpi program will depend on evidence garnered from the Scholar’s Annual Progress Report and relevant Scholar meetings that demonstrate progress toward research independence and the ongoing need for support.
UroEpi Program Leadership and Funding
Alison Huang, MD, MAS, UCSF Co-Program Director. Dr. Huang is Professor of Medicine, Urology, and Epidemiology & Biostatistics a UCSF, where her own research program is directed at advancing scientific understanding and developing new treatment strategies for lower urinary tract syndromes in older women. Contact information for Dr. Huang:
1545 Divisadero Street, Box 0320
San Francisco, CA 94115-1732
Ph: (415) 514-8697
Fax: (415) 514-8666
Dr. Stephen Van Den Eeden, PhD, KPNC Co-Program Director. Dr. Van Den Eeden is a Research Scientist III (Full Professor equivalent) at the Division of Research at Kaiser Permanente Northern California and an Adjunct Professor in Urology at UCSF. His research program spans benign urological conditions and urological cancer. Contact information for Dr. Van Den Eeden:
Oakland, CA 94612
Ph: (510) 891-3718
Fax: (510) 891-3761
Ms. Lisa Abinanti, Program Administrator for the UroEpi K12 Program. Ms. Abinanti has served as a project manager for multiple clinical and epidemiologic research projects based at the multidisciplinary UCSF Women’s Health Clinical Research Center. Contact information for Ms. Abinanti:
550 16th. Street, 6438
San Francisco, CA 94158
Ph: (415) 353-9978
Fax: (415) 476-5367
The UCSF-KPNC UroEpi K12 program is supported by grant # 1K12DK111028 from the National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive, and Kidney Disorders (NIDDK).