It’s difficult enough to fulfill day to day clinical and research responsibilities, but since the inception of the Clinical Research Training Program (CRTP), many department of medicine doctors have taken on the challenge of earning a Master of Science in Clinical Research Methods degree. Four — Drs. Krystal Cleven, Ruby Greywoode, Angela Lombardi, and Hyun Ah Yoon — graduated with distinction in 2022.
The CRTP is an intensive two-year program designed for those pursuing a career in investigator-initiated, hypothesis-driven clinical research. It combines didactic learning and coursework with a mentored research experience.
It is open to all medical specialists within Einstein and Montefiore, including those interested in clinical investigation across the entire translational research spectrum.
Dr. Aileen McGinn, director of the program, says, "It was a true joy and pleasure to watch the 2022 department of medicine graduates grow in their knowledge and skills and apply those skills at such a high level of integrity. Congratulations to all the scholars for their hard work, perseverance, and accomplishments. We are proud to have them as alumnae of the CRTP."
Meet the Class of 2022
Krystal Cleven, M.D.
Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine
A Longitudinal Assessment of Sarcoidosis in WTC-Exposed Responders and Community Members
David Prezant, M.D., Professor of Medicine Einstein, Co-Director WTC Health Program, and Chief Medical Officer at FDNY
Risk Factors for Coronavirus Disease 2019 in the Retired Fire Department of the City of New York World Trade Center-Exposed Cohort
Dr. Cleven has always had an interest in research and applied to the program to obtain formal training in research methodology and statistics.
“My CRTP training has helped my career significantly,” says Dr. Cleven. “I think differently about studies and I feel more confident in applying for grant funding. I have also been approached by many colleagues to work on projects together. I do not think I would have been invited to participate without my CRTP background.”
A native of the Midwest, Dr. Cleven did not consider becoming a physician until a few years after graduating college. She was doing research full time as a project coordinator at Columbia University and wanted a career that allowed her to care for patients and also do research. She decided on pulmonary and critical care medicine because she was interested in every aspect of internal medicine and enjoyed doing procedures.
Ruby Greywoode, M.D.
Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology
Distress Among Inflammatory Bowel Disease Ethnic Minorities
Thomas Ullman, M.D., Chief, Division of Gastroenterology
National Prevalence of Psychological Distress and Use of Mental Health Care in Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Dr. Greywoode was looking to gain formal skills in conducting clinical research and was attracted to the CRTP because of the wealth of resources available to students and the track record of research success graduates of the program had.
“I have already experienced benefits to my career in terms of research productivity and successful grant funding as a result of skills I learned in the CRTP,” says Dr. Greywoode.
When deciding on a specialty, she says that she was split between wanting to pursue internal medicine and colorectal surgery. She ultimately pursued gastroenterology at the encouragement of her medical school dean right before her fourth year.
“That was some of the best advice I've received. My first week on the gastroenterology consult service I realized that was the specialty for me,” adds Dr. Greywoode. “I found it to be the perfect combination of chronic disease care management and technical procedures.”
Angela Lombardi, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology
Translational Approaches to Identify Cutting-Edge Therapeutic Strategies in Type 1 Diabetes
Yaron Tomer, M.D., Chair, Department of Medicine
In-hospital Hyperglycemia is Associated with Worse Outcomes in Patients Hospitalized with COVID-19
Dr. Lombardi enrolled in the CRTP to foster a greater understanding and competence in clinical and translational research. Her long-term career goal is to become an independent investigator in the field of endocrinology.
Growing up in the south of Italy, she was passionate about science and eventually earned her Ph.D. in biology and biotechnology in 2010. She says that as far back as she can remember she always wanted to be a scientist and make research breakthroughs with translational impact.
“I am passionate about looking for new solutions to diabetes and thyroid disease by combining insights and techniques from across disciplines.
“The knowledge I acquired during the CRTP will maximize my chances of becoming a funded translational researcher making discoveries that could lead to new therapies that improve the lives of patients with diabetes and thyroid disease.”
Hyun Ah Yoon, M.D.
Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases
Designing Guidelines for Cryptococcal Antigen Screening in HIV-Positive Patients who are Non-Adherent to Antiretroviral Therapy in the Bronx.
Liise-anne Pirofski, M.D., Chief, Division of Infectious Diseases
Efficacy and Safety of COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma in Hospitalized Patients
Dr. Yoon was interested in doing more clinical and translational research but often felt barriers due to insufficient knowledge and skills. She wanted to receive more foundational and advanced training in research methodology and biostatistics to engage in and conduct research. She received this and more during her CRTP experience.
"I developed deeper joy, passion, and confidence in research by gaining an advanced knowledge base and skill set in study design, clinical trials, research ethics, and biostatistical literacy," says Dr. Yoon. "The CRTP provided me with the tools to enhance the quality of research, critically review others' work, and seek independent funding to further my research career and make a meaningful impact on patient care."
As a medical student and resident, Dr. Yoon knew that she wanted to go into a field where knowing the patient as a whole and grasping the overall clinical picture mattered. She toggled over several specialties but was ultimately drawn to infectious diseases. Dr. Yoon says that it was the brain power and caring nature of the attendings and fellows she got to work with during residency, academic atmosphere, and intellectual discussions that drew her into the field.
The graduates thank their mentors, prior scholars, and other researchers for their advice, support, and encouragement.
Posted on: Friday, January 27, 2023