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University of Pennsylvania Health System

Department of Ophthalmology

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Ophthalmology Education

Penn Vision Clinical Scientist Program


The University of Pennsylvania offers an extremely rich environment to support the development of independent investigators in clinical and patient-oriented research. The Penn Vision Clinical Scientist Program will take advantage of established educational programs within the university, the concentration of strong clinical and patient-oriented research programs ongoing within the Department of Ophthalmology, and the breadth of expertise available through Penn's interdisciplinary institutes and centers. After completion of the (VCSP) clinician scientists will be prepared to identify and prioritize important questions in their field, formulate a comprehensive approach to address the questions, and lead the efforts of a research team to provide answers.

The Penn Vision Clinical Scientist Program will be centered in the Department of Ophthalmology in the School of Medicine.

Trainees will have access to formal educational programs and applied research experience in a wide array of areas such as Komaromy Horseclinical epidemiology, single-center and multi-center clinical trials, health services research, bioethics, genetics, molecular biology, and neuroscience. Established investigators in clinical and patient-oriented research will serve as mentors to guide choices by trainees in educational programs and research projects and to advise trainees on activities necessary for professional development, collaboration among investigators, and developing successful research programs.

The VCSP Advisory Committee will select one or two trainees each year. In collaboration with the Lead Mentor, and with review by the Advisory Committee, each trainee will design a 2 to 5 year program consisting of didactic training and supervised research experiences.

The Penn VCSP will be geared towards providing training and career development to recently trained clinicians in the broad area of patient-oriented research and in the clinical science areas of molecular ophthalmology and neurobiology. Successful research in these areas requires individuals with a deep understanding of one or more components of the area under study in addition to a basic understanding of the other components. To prepare candidates to be independent researchers, all training programs will have the following common features:

  • A didactic program of instruction
  • Participation in journal clubs, lab meetings, and seminar series
  • Development of a plan of research activities that will provide the candidate with a variety of experiences in the candidate's area of interest and an increasing amount of responsibility and independence
  • Development of oral presentation and writing skills and other professional skills
  • Regular review of the candidate's plans and activities with evaluation and feedback provided to the candidate