FAER Report: Early Grants Result in Future Funding

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October 1, 2013 Volume 77, Number 10
FAER Report: Early Grants Result in Future Funding Denham S. Ward, M.D., Ph.D., President and CEO
Foundation for Anesthesia Education and Research (FAER)

FAER funding provides the resources, time and mentorship that anesthesiologists need early on to have successful and productive research careers. Grant funding enables early-career physicians to develop the skills and preliminary data they need to become independent investigators who receive subsequent funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other institutes or foundations.

We are pleased to share with you a few recent success stories and grant progress reports.

Building a Career as a Clinician-Scientist

Johns Hopkins-based Grant Recipient Receives $2 million in New Funding

Rebecca Aslakson, M.D., Ph.D. received a FAER Mentored Research Training Grant (MRTG) in 2011 to study “Crafting a Palliative Care Intervention for Surgical Intensive Care Unit Patients.” In addition to her scientific objectives of the project, she also aimed to achieve career development milestones that would establish her as a successful clinician-scientist.

Dr. Aslakson is an assistant professor in the department of anesthesiology and critical care at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and recently has completed the FAER-funded portion of her project. The outcomes – both scientific and career development – clearly validate FAER’s early support of her career.

Through her FAER MRTG-CT, she completed a large, qualitative study “to explore the palliative care-related needs, beliefs and experiences of long-stay surgical intensive care unit (SICU) patients, their families and their care providers (nurse, SICU intensivist and surgeon).” Dr. Aslakson and her team conducted more than 50 interviews and six focus groups to explore “how these different stakeholders understand the patient and family members’ hopes, goals and fears concerning their illness, and how they conceptualize ‘high-quality ICU care’ and ‘palliative care.’”

“We found that many family members were psychologically unprepared for their loved one to have a long SICU stay – ‘I expected and prepared for everything ... but not this,’ was a common concept,” Dr. Aslakson says. “In describing high-quality SICU care, all stakeholders valued ‘communication’ as a critical component, but SICU clinicians otherwise generally valued technical domains, such as ‘no harm to the patient’ and ‘following standards.’ Yet patients and families more strongly valued emotional and humanistic domains such as ‘compassion’ and ‘involving family.’”

Based on this work, Dr. Aslakson was able to obtain more than $2 million of research funding from government and foundation grants for related projects supported through 2016. Her grant from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) will help “future pre-operative patients and families ‘prepare for everything’ by developing a video-based decision aid for patients and families preparing for high-risk surgery.” A K08 from the NIH is “proposed to use psychometrics and our patient- and family-identified domains of ‘high-quality ICU care’ to develop a patient-centered outcome for ICU-based palliative care.” She also received the Johns Hopkins Clinician Scientist Award.

Of the $2 million in funding, Dr. Aslakson says, “This is already an 11-to-1 return-on-investment for FAER. Needless to say, I am profoundly grateful to FAER for supporting my research work over the past two years.”

A Stepping Stone to Long-Term Achievement:

Researcher at Penn Receives NIH Funding After FAER Grant

Since receiving a FAER Mentored Research Training Grant in Clinical or Translational Science (MRTG-CT) in 2011 for his project, “Anesthesia Technique and Outcomes After Hip Fracture: Instrumental Variable Analysis,” Mark Neuman, M.D., M.Sc. has conducted a number of analyses of a large database with anesthesia care and clinical outcomes for more than 50,000 patients treated for acute hip fracture in New York State. Dr. Neuman’s main goal has been to understand the impact of differing anesthesia types, specifically regional versus general anesthesia, on key patient outcomes.

Based on this work, Dr. Neuman, assistant professor of anesthesiology and critical care at University of Pennsylvania, published a paper in Anesthesiology in July 2012 that showed marked reductions in in-hospital mortality and pulmonary complications among patients receiving regional anesthesia. Most notably, as he neared the completion of his FAER-funded project, he received a grant from the National Institute on Aging (an NIH K08) to continue his research.

“FAER’s support has been vital to my development as a researcher within anesthesiology; it has allowed me to complete research that has potential to impact clinical practice and to secure further funding from the National Institutes of Health,” he says. “Obtaining a FAER Mentored Research Training Grant has been a key early step in achieving my long-term goal of building a successful career in academic anesthesiology and improving patient health through my research.”

Announcement for Past FAER Grant Recipients

FAER has awarded a contract to the University of Pennsylvania for a study to determine the success of past grant funding efforts in developing the careers of anesthesiologists and anesthesiology trainees. Former FAER grant recipients will be asked, via email, to participate in an electronic survey. If you are a former FAER grant recipient and have questions about the survey, please contact Jody Clikeman, FAER program coordinator, at JodyClikeman@faer.org or (507) 266-6866.

Apply for FAER Grant Funding - 2014 GRANT OPPORTUNITIES

Mentored Research Training Grant

Research Areas: Basic Science (MRTG-BS); Clinical and Translational (MRTG-CT); Health Services Research (MRTG-HSR)

Purpose: To help anesthesiologists develop the skills and preliminary data to become independent investigators

For Whom: Faculty member who completed core anesthesiology residency within the past 10 years

Funding: $175,000

Duration: Two years

Percent Research: 75%

Research Fellowship Grant

Research Areas: Basic Science, Clinical and Translational, Health Services or Education

Purpose: To provide significant training in research techniques and scientific methods

For Whom: Anesthesiology trainee after the CA-1 year

Funding: $75,000

Duration: One year

Percent Research: 80%

Research in Education Grant

Research Areas: Education Research

Purpose: To improve the quality and impact of anesthesiology education research

For Whom: Faculty member of any rank (junior or senior faculty)

Funding: $100,000

Duration: Two years

Percent Research: 40%


Online application opens November 1, 2013

Applications due February 15, 2014

Award notifications made by May 15, 2014

Project start date July 1, 2014 or January 1, 2015


Denham S. Ward, M.D., Ph.D. is President and CEO, Foundation for Anesthesia Education and Research, and Emeritus Professor of Anesthesiology and Biomedical Engineering, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, New York.