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Medical/Graduate Student Fellowship

Some AHA application forms and instructions have been updated for the summer 2016 deadlines. Check the Supporting Documents for the program to be sure you have the most up to date information.

Application Deadline:

  • Great Rivers Affiliate - Aug. 17, 2016
  • Greater Southeast Affiliate - Aug. 17, 2016
  • Mid-Atlantic Affiliate - Aug. 17, 2016
  • Midwest Affiliate - Aug. 17, 2016
  • SouthWest Affiliate -  Aug. 17, 2016
  • Western States Affiliate - Aug. 17, 2016

Award Activation: Feb. 1, 2017

The application must be submitted by 5:00 p.m. Central Time in Grants@Heart on the deadline date. The application will be submitted to the designated grant officer, who will submit it to the American Heart Association (AHA).

Program Description, Eligibility and Peer Review Criteria

Success Rate

Objectives

To provide mentored support for medical/graduate students who seek experience working in an academic research lab. The goal is to encourage them to pursue research careers, focus their research interests, and provide a background for future training and career development programs once they have completed their medical/graduate training.

This is an institutional award, made to qualified research institutions within the affiliate's geographic boundaries that can offer a meaningful research experience medical and health science students.

Science Focus

Funding is available for research broadly related to cardiovascular function and disease, stroke, or to related clinical, basic science, and public health problems. The program should be focused on basic, epidemiological and/or clinical disciplines that bear on cardiovascular and stroke problems. The extent to which the focus of the project is related to cardiovascular disease and/or stroke is an important factor that will be considered in the evaluation of the proposal. However, the program director is not required to be a part of a cardiovascular/stroke-oriented laboratory, clinic or department.

The institution must demonstrate the ability to provide a meaningful research experience to students during the allotted 10-week fellowship experience.

Location of Work

The project must be conducted at any accredited institution in one of the following affiliates:

Great Rivers - Delaware, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia
Greater Southeast - Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Puerto Rico, Tennessee, U.S. Virgin Islands
Mid-Atlantic Affiliate - District of Columbia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia
Midwest - Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Nebraska, South Dakota, Wisconsin
SouthWest - Arkansas, Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Wyoming
Western States - Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington

Target Audience, Eligibility

American Heart Association research awards are limited to non-profit institutions, including medical, osteopathic and dental schools, veterinary schools, schools of public health, pharmacy schools, nursing schools, universities and colleges, public and voluntary hospitals and other institutions that can demonstrate the ability to conduct the proposed research. Applications proposed by federal institution or employees will not be accepted, except for applications to the AHA’s Cardiovascular Genome Phenome Study (“CVGPS”), and applications from Veterans Administration employees.

Funding is prohibited for projects conducted at institutions outside the United States

Program Director

The program director is the applicant for this award. At the time of application, he/she must:

  • possess a demonstrated track record of providing mentoring to student researchers;
  • be a full-time faculty member at the level of assistant professor (or equivalent) or above;
  • provide a detailed description of institutional support that is available to sponsors and students;
  • list potential sponsors, along with brief details about their background and nature of work;
  • outline how potential student awardees will be identified and recruited;
  • provide the procedure that sponsor/student teams will follow to compete for AHA funds granted to the institution;
  • submit a plan for obtaining annual feedback from current and former trainees to assess the quality and effectiveness of the fellowship experience;
  • must have one of the following designations at time of application:
    • United States citizen.
    • Permanent resident.
    • Pending permanent resident (any resident who has an approved I-765 form and has submitted an I-485 application with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services).
    • E-3 - specialty occupation worker.
    • H-1B Visa - temporary worker in a specialty occupation. Note: You must have an H-1B or equivalent by the award activation date. If the H-1B or equivalent is not received by the award activation date, the award must be relinquished.
    • J-1 Visa - exchange visitor. Note: You must have an H-1B or equivalent by the award activation date. If the H-1B or equivalent is not received by the award activation date, the award must be relinquished.
    • O-1 Visa - temporary worker with extraordinary abilities in the sciences.
    • TN Visa – North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) professional.
    • G-4 Visa - family member of employee of international organizations.
  • must maintain one of the designations listed above throughout duration of the award.

Program Structure

This is an institutional award to qualified research institutions within the affiliate's geographic boundaries that can offer a meaningful research experience to medical and/or graduate students. The institution applies, with an internal selection process outlined, in which the sponsor/student pairs apply together for one of the awards from the institution.

  • The institution is strongly encouraged to recruit students from racial and ethnic groups that are underrepresented in science (Black/African-American, Hispanic/Latino, Native American, Pacific Islander).
  • The institution may apply for support for two to five students per year. The request must be justified by the institution, based on how many students they can effectively manage.
  • This is a three-year award that supports two to five students per institution, per year. Renewal is based on satisfactory interim reporting from students, sponsors, and the program director

Sponsor

Following are requirements and restrictions related to sponsors and student trainees:

  • The sponsor must demonstrate that the student will be provided with a meaningful experience within the 10-week time period allotted for the award.
  • A sponsor may have no more than two AHA-supported student fellows (undergraduate and/or medical/graduate student) at any time.
  • Sponsor must provide a detailed description of available support, projects available for student to work on, and the nature of research activities of each project, which will be submitted to AHA by the Program Director at the time of award activation.
  • Sponsor must possess a track record of supporting trainees.
  • Must have one of the following designations at time of application:
    • United States citizen.
    • Permanent resident.
    • Pending permanent resident (any resident who has an approved I-765 form and has submitted an I-485 application with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services).
    • E-3 - specialty occupation worker.
    • H-1B Visa - temporary worker in a specialty occupation. Note: You must have an H-1B or equivalent by the award activation date. If the H-1B or equivalent is not received by the award activation date, the award must be relinquished.
    • J-1 Visa - exchange visitor. Note: You must have an H-1B or equivalent by the award activation date. If the H-1B or equivalent is not received by the award activation date, the award must be relinquished.
    • O-1 Visa - temporary worker with extraordinary abilities in the sciences.
    • TN Visa – North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) professional.
    • G-4 Visa - family member of employee of international organizations.
  • Must maintain one of the designations listed above throughout duration of the award.

Student

  • Medical or graduate students in good standing who have completed at least one year of their medical or graduate school education at the time of award activation.
  • Student must either attend an institution within the Affiliate or be a resident of a state within the Affiliate.
  • At the time of application, student must be a United States citizen, or a foreign national holding a student, exchange or permanent resident visa, including an F-1, H1, H1B, J1, PR, TC or TN visa.
  • Students are not required to reside in the U.S. for any period of time before applying for American Heart Association funding.
  • Students are ineligible if they already have stipend support for the summer from another funding source

Budget

Trainee Stipend/Salary: $4,000 per student for the 10-week summer research experience Institution may request support for two to five students per year
Award duration: Three years
Total Award Amount: $24,000 - $60,000

Annual payment will be made to the institution for disbursement to the students. Faculty sponsor and institution assume fiscal responsibility. The institution may supplement the award amount. The award does not constitute an employee-employer relationship between the student and the American Heart Association. Direct use of award funds to pay tuition is prohibited.

Timeline

July/AugustApplication Deadline
December:AHA Notifies Program Director
Institution conducts a call for applicants and holds an internal selection process
April 1: Program Director submits names of sponsors and student awardees to AHA
May-August:10 weeks of fellowship experience

Interim Reporting

By October 1 each year of the award, the documents listed below are to be submitted to the AHA by the Program Director. Continued funding of the award and eligibility for subsequent awards will be contingent upon meeting these reporting requirements.

  • From each student: Up to a one-page narrative on experience, lessons learned, and future educational and career plan.
  • Student awardees from years one and two are expected to submit an annual update of their educational and career progress, at least until the award has ended. It is in the best interest of the institution to make students aware that they will be asked for an annual update of their academic and/or career activities through the end of the award.
  • From each sponsor: Up to a two-page narrative on the training experience, including research and training accomplishments, abstracts, and publications.
  • From Program Director: Up to three pages outlining method used for identifying and selecting sponsors and students; the extent to which the awarded slots were filled, and a reporting of how many students were minorities.
  • At the end of the three-year award, the Program Director is to submit a final report that summarizes the experience from the standpoint of the institution. The final report should include a review of each student’s educational and career progression.

Peer Review Criteria

Overall Impact - Reviewers will provide an overall impact/priority score to reflect their assessment of the likelihood for the program to provide a meaningful 10-week research experience, in consideration of the following review criteria. In order to judge the merit of the application, reviewers will comment on the following three criteria, each of which will account for one-third of the overall score.

Assessment of the Program Director

The program director is the applicant for this award.

Does the Program Director have the scientific background, expertise, time commitment, and administrative and training experience to provide strong leadership, direction, management, and administration of the proposed research training program?

Student Trainee Recruitment Plan

  1. Is a recruitment plan proposed with strategies to attract high-quality candidates for the short-term training program? Does the program have access to and the ability to recruit high quality, short-term trainees from the applicant institution or another health-professional school?
  2. Are the recruiting procedures and trainee selection criteria appropriate and well defined?
  3. Is there a well-defined plan for recruiting underrepresented minorities?
  4. Is a procedure in place that sponsor/student teams will follow to compete for the AHA funds granted to the institution?

Training Program and Environment

  1. Are the research facilities and environment conducive to preparing trainees for successful careers that include biomedical research? Is the level of institutional commitment to the training program, including administrative and research training support, sufficient to ensure the success of the program?
  2. Do the research projects listed that students could be imbedded in/exposed to provide opportunities for trainees to acquire state-of-the-art scientific knowledge, methods, and tools that are relevant to the goals of the training program?
  3. Are sufficient numbers of experienced proposed sponsors with appropriate expertise and funding available to support the number and level of trainees proposed in the application? Do the proposed sponsors have strong records as researchers, including recent publications and successful competition for research support in areas directly related to the proposed research training program? Do the proposed sponsors have strong records of training medical and health science students? For each proposed student or sponsor/student team from a different institution within the affiliate, is there either:
    1. An established collaboration (such as shared papers) and a letter from the sponsoring institution assuring support for the project and responsibility for the student’s work, or
    2. For new collaborations, a letter from the sponsoring institution as outlined above?
  4. Does the program provide appropriate inter- or multidisciplinary research training opportunities?
  5. Are there planned activities and educational opportunities for the cohort of student trainees?
  6. Is the proposed training program likely to ensure trainees will be prepared for research-intensive and research-related careers?
  7. Does the program propose a rigorous evaluation plan to assess the quality and effectiveness of the training? Are effective mechanisms in place for obtaining feedback from current and former trainees?

Renewals

For subsequent awards, the peer review committee will consider the progress made in the last three-year funding period, including on the Recruitment Plan. Does the application describe the program's accomplishments over the past funding period(s)? Is the program achieving its training objectives? Has the program evaluated the quality and effectiveness of the training experience (and when applicable, short-term training experience), and is there evidence that the evaluation outcomes and feedback from trainees have been active upon? Are changes proposed that are likely to improve or strengthen the research training experience during the next project period (may not be applicable to short-term training)?

Training Record

  1. How successful were past trainees in completing the program?
  2. Has the training program ensured that trainees are productive in terms of research accomplishments, publication of research conducted during the training period, and subsequent training appointments and fellowship or career development awards?
  3. How successful are past trainees in achieving productive scientific careers as evidenced by successful competition for research science positions in industry, academia, government or other research venues; grants, receipt of honors, awards, or patents; high-impact publications; promotion to scientific leadership positions; and/or other such measures of success.

For programs that provide research training to health-professional doctorates: Is there a record of retaining health professionals in research training or other research activities for at least two years?