I am waiting to hear if I have been accepted into a graduate program/post doctoral fellowship. Can I still apply to the DSECT Program?

Yes, you can still apply to this program while waiting to hear about acceptance into a graduate program or post doctoral fellowship. However, in order to take part in this training program, you must provide confirmation of acceptance into a full-time graduate program or fellowship.

I am a clinician (physician, pharmacist, nurse, etc.). Can I apply to the DSECT program?

Yes, a clinician who has already completed their initial training (including residency, where applicable) is eligible to apply to the DSECT Program if they are currently engaged in or about to start post-graduate training.

I already have funding from an external trainee award (i.e. CIHR Doctoral Award). Will I be eligible to receive additional stipend funding if I am accepted into this program?

Stipend funding is not guaranteed for each applicant. Each request for a stipend will be evaluated on an individual basis as the regulations for holding concurrent awards will vary based on the funding agency, university, and university department. If you are not eligible to hold concurrent funding, you can continue to take part in the program without receiving a stipend if you are accepted into the program.

Can I defer enrollment if I am accepted into this program?

No, you cannot defer enrollment if accepted into this program. You will need to apply again if you are not able to accept placement into the program when you have received an offer.

I am not located in the Hamilton area? Can I still apply to this program?

Yes, you can still apply to the program if you are not located in the Hamilton area. Most program components will take place electronically using web-based technology. If accepted into the program, you will be required to attend a 3-day Symposium in Toronto, Montreal, or Vancouver (see the application form for your year) and all costs associated with attending the symposium will be covered by the program.

I have not done any work in the area of medications but am interested in learning more about this. Can I still apply to this program?

You do not need to have a thesis topic related to medications, but you should be able to demonstrate an interest in a research question related to medications that you would be able to explore throughout the program. It will be important to also show that you have the support of your supervisor to focus time in the area of therapeutics if this is not your primary area of focus.

What are the benefits of joining the DSECT Program?

As a trainee with this program, you will gain the following:

  • Ability to work effectively within the CIHR cross-disciplinary approach to research
  • Experience and exposure in translating research into practice through interaction with health policy-makers
  • Knowledge and skills to pursue quality cross-disciplinary research in drug safety and effectiveness as a practicing health professional, academic researcher, pharmaceutical industry representative, or government policy-maker
How are trainees evaluated in this program?

Upon acceptance into the program, trainees will be expected to complete a Learning Plan that outlines how they will meet a set of competencies personalized to the trainee. All trainees will need to meet the minimum requirements set out by the program. Trainees will connect regularly with their program mentors to ensure that training program requirements are being met.

What are the time commitment expectations?

The program takes one-year to complete and runs from April to the following March. Trainees are expected to attend the program symposium in April, which is 3 full days. From then, trainees access our online synchronous and asynchronous sessions (via webconference and our curriculum learning site) with an average time commitment of about 6 – 10 hours per month. In the final month, trainees are expected to participate in our OSKTE (Observed Structured Knowledge Translation Experience), which is a full day online commitment (not including preparation). Trainees are also invited to participate in either a practicum or exposure within the drug safety & effectiveness setting – this time commitment varies greatly according to what you select (could be a couple of days job shadowing to 4 – 6 weeks involved in a project).

What is expected in terms of program requirements from participants?

Requirements vary depending on the trainees’ learning plan and stream (see overview of program streams). At the outset of the program, the trainees complete a learning plan in partnership with their primary supervisor and secondary (DSECT) mentor. This includes a checklist of curriculum activities that we provide – the checklist would address gaps in knowledge and experience that the trainee will be expected to complete throughout the program year.

What can the student expect from the program in terms of education or job opportunity? Is the program focused on technical knowledge or research skills that can be used in other domains?

Trainees will individualize their learning, so depending on the intensity of their personal program a trainee will gain: (1) a cross-disciplinary approach to knowledge building so that trainees will have a broader perspective on other areas of drug safety and effectiveness research that will likely be more useful for future research projects or within a trainees first (or next) job, and (2) some specific knowledge or skills through self-study modules, advanced courses, specific projects with a program mentor, or through a practicum. So the focus can be on whatever the trainee needs to accomplish their goals within the program. We believe that trainees most suited to work in industry, government and academic institutions in fields related to pharmacology, therapeutics and related health services are too highly focused and lack breadth of knowledge in post-market drug safety and effectiveness research; and so, may be less well equipped for the variety of industry, government, academic and other types of positions that require in-depth knowledge of pharmacotherapy. We strive to expose trainees to a combination of technical skills (i.e., through our basic concepts modules) and practical skill-building (i.e., through our OSKTE experience).

Is there an expectation to stay involved in the program after you have completed it?

The DSECT Program is a one-year program and trainees are expected to complete all program components within this timeframe. However, we anticipate ongoing correspondence with each trainee to track academic achievements and develop our alumni community. Therefore, you will receive requests to send us information from your CV as well as the completion of periodic evaluative surveys once you have ended the program. We also hope to host periodic events where current and alumni trainees can meet and interact.

What are the expectations for the trainees’ primary supervisor?

The trainees’ supervisor is expected to work in partnership with the trainees’ DSECT secondary mentor on the learning plan and support involvement in the learning activities contained within. These expectations will be clearly outlined in the contract, should the applicant be accepted to the program.