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Clinical Research Enhancement through Supplemental Training (CREST) Program

 A career in clinical research increasingly requires high levels of preparation, training, and commitment similar to a career in laboratory-based research. While it is common for physicians/scientists to dedicate several years of focused effort to master the techniques and strategies required for productive careers in laboratory research, individuals embarking on a career in clinical investigation only recently have had a similar opportunity to develop their skills. This disparity is representative of the lack of structured training programs in clinical research. Recognizing this lack, the NIH has developed the K series of grants. These grants enhance development of investigators with specialized clinical and laboratory skills to use rigorous methods to address research questions with human populations. UCSD has incorporated these concepts in the design of the CREST program, under the direction of Ravindra Mehta, MD.

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About

The main features of the program design are as follows.

Integrated Design for State-of-the-Art Training

Three characteristics common to successful training, whether it be in clinical or laboratory research, are: 1) training in research methods applicable to the area of investigation, 2) application of these methods to a state-of-the-art research question, and 3) collaboration with more experienced investigators. Well-trained laboratory researchers benefit from all three training components.  Research mentors provide a laboratory environment for instruction in research methods, which the trainee uses in a specific project while also interacting with other investigators in the field. Similarly, experienced clinician investigators utilize the clinic or hospital as a "laboratory" for their research. It is more difficult for clinical researchers to control the "laboratory" environment and provide comprehensive training. We have designed the CREST program to integrate the three components described above. The program requires the scholar to have an independent research project, provides the didactic and practical training required in the methods of clinical research, and creates an environment for the scholar to learn from a multidisciplinary faculty who provide individualized guidance for career development.

Broad-based Curriculum Encompassing Major Areas of Clinical Research

As clinical research is often multidisciplinary and multifaceted, a curriculum for instruction should be representative of the different components of clinical research, as defined by the NIH. Taking this into account we have incorporated all major elements of clinical research in the design of the curriculum. The curriculum is designed with courses given over two years.  It is comprised of eight modules which cover the principles of epidemiology, biostatistics, patient-oriented research (two modules each), health services/outcomes research, and data management/informatics (one module each). We believe that the CREST scholar must not only have a strong basis in academic medicine, but must understand the bioscience/biotechnology to be an effective researcher. Consequently, we include professional development seminars that are offered throughout the two years and focused on key elements including grant writing, scientific communication, research management and time management.

Components of CREST Program Curriculum

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Each module is given over one academic quarter and is comprised of 10 weekly, 2-hour periods of instruction in the early evening. The format for instruction includes a combination of didactic lectures, group discussions, and hands-on computer-based training. Once-a-week evening classes allow the scholar to focus on his/her primary research and training project without disrupting clinical responsibilities during the major part of the work week. For individuals interested in completing the CREST curriculum in a shorter time period, a one year option is available. This requires both the first and second year courses be taken concurrently on two nights a week (Wednesday and Thursday)  e.g. year 1 course on Wednesday and year 2 course on Thursday. However, the sessions must begin with either the Winter session in January or Summer session in July.

Targeted Participants with Track System for Enrollment

The program is primarily directed towards postdoctoral candidates with a M.D. or Ph.D. degree interested in pursuing a career in clinical investigation or translational research. Potential applicants will have a primary research training focus either in basic science or in clinical research. Scholars are recruited from many departments and disciplines and range from graduate students working towards a Masters degree to individuals holding junior faculty appointments. Scholars differ in levels of prior training and experience in areas covered by the curriculum, in levels of commitment, and in interests. In order to accommodate the varying needs we have incorporated two mechanisms to permit flexibility while retaining the benefits of structured modular instruction. First, scholars spend the majority of their time working on their primary focus for training as a basic scientist or a clinician investigator. Second, scholars are able to select from two training tracks for participating in the CREST program to supplement their training. Participants are assessed on application to the program for their goals and needs for training in specific areas.

For those with more limited goals, Track I involves a smaller number of modules. For example, fellows whose interest and training focuses on laboratory research may elect to take only the modules involving biostatistics, career development, and ethical and regulatory issues. Those who pursue Track II commit to the entire ten-module, two-year curriculum. Taking all ten modules is equivalent to approximately 20 credits hours. Track II scholars have the option to enroll in the UCSD Masters of Advanced Studies in Clinical Research anytime during the first year of training and can apply the CREST curriculum credits towards the Masters degree.

Career Development

A key feature of the program is that it addresses the continuum of learning experienced by the scholar. In addition to the curriculum, each scholar who enrolls in the MAS program is required to have an individual research project supervised by his or her primary research mentor. In addition, each scholar is paired with a CREST faculty member, who serves as a mentor to assist with their individual research project as well a  providing career guidance. The CREST faculty interacts with the primary research mentor to ensure that scholars have the appropriate support and protected time to pursue their goals. In order to assign a CREST mentor to each applicant we require the applicant to complete a pre-course assessment form that provides information on content knowledge, needs and learning styles. These instruments are repeated at periodic intervals to track each applicant's progress through the duration of the training program.

Fees

UCSD residents, fellows, faculty (including laboratory-based fellows) MUST apply through CREST and pay a discounted fee up to 20 credit units. If interested in earning the CREST certificate and/or transferring to the MAS degree program, you must apply for Track II; if interested in individual courses, you should apply for Track I. The cost for staff, residents and fellows is $315 per unit ($630 per two-unit course) and for faculty it is $420 per unit ($840 per two-unit course). The fee covers the costs for lectures and course materials including books. The fee after completing 20 units and/or transferring to MAS program is $840 PER UNIT ($1,680 per two-unit course)!

Non-UCSD folks (coming from industry or other academic institutions) must apply through MAS program and pay the regular course fee; i.e., $840 per unit ($1,680 per two-unit course) plus the registration fee. Details of the Master’s Degree program and fees can be found at the MAS web site: https://clre.ucsd.edu.

Curriculum

Click Here, For a details description of the Curriculum.

Prospective Students

Intended Audience:

CREST is targeted to fellows, junior faculty, Pharm.D, faculty members, and research associates interested in receiving supplemental training in clinical and translational research. We accept researchers from all disciplines, particularly physicians enrolled in fellowship training or starting their academic career.

CREST also accepts UCSD staff with prior experience in clinical medicine (e.g. clinical research nurses, research associates) as concurrent students.

Admissions:

Applicants must read and understand the descriptions and objectives of the courses, review the course start and end dates, and review the overall program goals. Applicants must also agree to commit to attending at least 70% of the classes for each course, and completing the majority of the homework.

To apply for CREST (Clinical Research Enhancement through Supplemental Training), candidates will need to complete and submit the online CREST Program application.

The following  must also be included: Required Supplemental Documents For All Applicants:

  • Statement of Purpose: please explain your specific research interests and goals, your individual strengths and what makes you a good candidate for this program, why you want to be in the program, and how it will assist you in achieving your career goals.
  • Three Letters of Recommendation:  recommendation letters must come from the recommender not the applicant. Choose recommences who know your skills and abilities, and can speak to why you are a good candidate for the program.
  • Unofficial copies of academic records: if your educational background is not MD, a copy of all undergraduate and graduate courses work/transcripts must accompany your submission. You could upload it with your application or email it as attachment schernet@ucsd.edu or fax to 858-534-9168
  • Current resume or C.V.

Application procedures

"Track System" to permits flexibility and accommodate the varying needs:

Track I:

  • Take only selected Courses.
  • Track I will be placed on a waiting list (first come-first serve) until administering Track II (the certificate/degree students). Enrollment is based on space availability.                                   

Track II:

  • Complete CREST curriculum and earn  Advanced Certificate in Clinical Research
  • Transfer to the  Masters of Advanced Studies in Clinical Research Degree Program during the first year of training and apply the CREST curriculum credits towards the Masters degree.
  • Could enter in (January) or summer (July) quarter.

Complete the Online Application

Your application will be reviewed by admission committee. After your application has been reviewed we will contact you. If you have any questions before then, please contact the CREST office (858-534-9163 or schernet@ucsd.edu).

For those who are interested in the Masters of Advanced Studies in Clinical Research degree after completing 20 units of CREST Curriculum, details can be found at http://clre.ucsd.edu.

Financial Matters:

Payment Structure

Self Payment

Check/Credit Card

Department Payment

Recharge

MS Word ​MS Word
PDF PDF
 
Important Fee Changes for Summer-2022:
>>Effective Summer-2022 there will be an adjustment in the tuition rates to accommodate the rising costs of materials and services that the program must purchase for the program. The new tuition fees are as follows:
UCSD residents, fellows, staff, and affiliate the cost is $630/2unit course ($315/unit).
UCSD faculty and affiliate faculty the cost is $840/2 unit course ($420/unit).  
Non-UCSD affiliate the cost is $1,680 per course ($840/unit) +Reg fee
The fee covers the costs for lectures and course materials including books.

In order to have access to course materials online through Canvas on time for class, you MUST submit your payment by due date.

For information about CREST Program payment, please contact Seble Chernet at schernet@ucsd.edu.

If interested in transferring to the degree program after completing 20 units with discounted fee through CREST Program, please visit the Masters Degree program website.

Program Format:

Broad-based curriculum encompassing major areas of clinical research that:

    • Can be completed in 1-3 years;
    • Are comprised of nine modules which are:
      • Given over one academic quarter each
      • Each course is designed to be given over one academic quarter and is comprised of 10 weekly, 2-hour periods of instruction which are given in the early evening (4-6). The regularly scheduled core classes are typically held from 4-6 pm on Wednesdays and Thursdays at UCSD La Jolla Campus.
    • Seminar series complement the modules and are given on Monday or Tuesday evenings from 4-7 Pm. Applicants are required to take one (2unit) seminar from Professional Development Series.  

In order to accommodate the varying needs, we have incorporated a track system which permits flexibility while retaining structured modular instruction.

  • Track I
    • Will involve a limited number of modules and is only for those who are interested in attending selected modules; can apply anytime but enrollment is based on space availability.
  • Track II
    •  Will commit to the entire eight module, two-year curriculum and will have receive course credit towards Masters degree in Clinical Research.
  • Taking all CREST modules is equivalent to approximately 20 credit units which can be applied towards a  Masters degree in Clinical Research. Track II enrollees are required to elect if they plan to apply these credits towards the MAS degree after completing 14-16 credit units in the CREST program.
  • Total units required for MAS degree: 40

Pace of Study:

Coursework can be completed in one to two years of study depending upon a participant's time to devote to the program. Students could enter the program either in the winter (January) or summer (July) quarter.
*Please note that "Core Courses" are offered twice a year but you only need to take them once!

Core Courses

 

Course#

Unit

WI

SP

SU

FA

*Epidemiology I 

CLRE-251

2

X

 

X

 

*Epidemiology II 

CLRE-257

2

 

X

 

*Patient Oriented Res. I 

CLRE-250

2

X

 

X

*Patient Oriented Res. II 

CLRE-256

2

 

 X

 

 X

*Biostatistics I 

CLRE-253

2

X

 

X

 

*Biostatistics II  

 

CLRE-254

2

 

X

 

X

*Health Services Research

 

CLRE-252

2

X

 

X

 

*Data Mgmt. & informatics 

CLRE-255

2

 

 X

 

X

*Scientific Communication Skills

 

CLRE-259

 2

 X

 

 X

 

CREST Certificate Elective: One of the Professional Development Series- below:

Clinical Research Project Management and Budgeting 

CLRE-258

 2

 X

 

 X

Effective Communication

CLRE-258

2

 X

 

 X

 

Select one additional elective form CLRE-258 series above for certificate.

20 Credit Units required for Advanced Certificate in Clinical Research. Additional modules can be taken in either on first or second year.

Current Students

Academic Calendars/Schedule of Classes

FY: 2022 - 2023

FY: 2023 - 2024


CREST Payment and Registration:

Schedule of Classes (WI-2023 schedule of classes)

​SELF PAYMENT:

Check/Credit Card

​DEPARTMENT PAYMENT: 

Recharge

MS Word
PDF
MS Word
PDF
The fee covers the costs for lectures and course materials including books.

In order to have access to course materials online through Canvas on time for class, you MUST submit your payment by due date.

For information about CREST Program payment, please contact Seble Chernet at schernet@ucsd.edu.

If interested in transferring to the degree program after completing 20 units with discounted fee through CREST Program, please visit the Masters Degree program website.

Class Locations:

Click on map for detailed view

Course Website/Canavs Login:

CANVASClick here to redirect to login page

Final Grades and Payment Receipts:

Grade-TranscriptsClick here to access system

Contact Us

 

ACTRI CREST 

CREST Faculty and Staff

Contact Information

Mehta1.jpg

Ravi Mehta, MD

Program Director

UCSD Medical Center

rmehta@ucsd.edu

Phone: (858) 246-2134

McCutchan.jpg

Allen McCutchan, MD

Associate Program Director 

UCSD Medical Center

amccutchan@ucsd.edu

Phone: (619) 543-5052

Sheldon-Morris.jpg

Sheldon Morris, MD, MPH

Course Director - Patient Oriented Research I & II,

Translational Regenerative Medicine

shmorris@ucsd.edu

Phone: (619) 543-4761

Bharti-Balambal-.jpg

Balambal Bharti, MBBS, MPH, PhD

Course Director - Epidemiology I & II 

bbharti@ucsd.edu

Hogarth,-Mike_.jpg

Mike Hogarth, MD

Director, Data Management and Informatics Course

mihogarth@ucsd.edu

Phone: (916) 817-9951

raphael.jpg

Raphael Cuomo, PhD, MPH, CPH, FRSPH

Director, Health Services Research Course

racuomo@ucsd.edu    

Phone: (858) 534-3508

Patel,-Hemal.jpg

Hemal H. Patel, MD, PhD

Director, Scientific Communication Courses 

hepatel@ucsd.edu

Phone: (858) 534-4906

Vaida_FlorinWB.jpg

Florin Vaida, PhD

Director, Biostatistics Courses

fvaida@ucsd.edu

Phone: (619) 543-8045

Seble-.jpg

Seble W. Chernet

CREST Program Manager

University of California, San Diego
9500 Gilman Drive, Mail Code 0170X
La Jolla, CA 92093 - 0170X

schernet@ucsd.edu

Phone: 858-534-9163

Fax: 858-534-9163

http://crest.ucsd.edu 

 

FAQ

  1. Who can apply? 
  2. If I am not with UCSD or UCSD affiliate, can I still apply to the program?
  3. How do I apply to the program?
  4. What are the admission requirements for CREST?
  5. What are the admissions requirements for the MAS degree program?
  6. When is the deadline for submitting the application?
  7. Where do I send my application?
  8. Could I register for the MAS degree program after completing the all the 2-year CREST courses?
  9. How long does it take to complete the CREST program?
  10. How many credit units are needed to earn the MAS degree?
  11. How much does it cost?

Who can apply?

Any doctoral candidates, postdoctoral fellows, or junior faculty who are pursuing a career in clinical or translational research can apply. Members of UCSD and its affiliates (UCSD staff, fellows, faculty, junior faculty, VA, Children's Hospital), apply through CREST.

If I am not with UCSD or a UCSD affiliate, can I still apply to the program?

Yes, you are eligible to apply through the Masters of Advanced Studies in Clinical Research degree program.
Details of the Masters Degree program and fees can be found at http://clre.ucsd.edu/.  

What are the admissions requirements for the CREST program?

Those interested in applying are encouraged to visit the CREST website, read and understand the descriptions and objectives of the courses they are interested in, review the course start and end dates, and review the overall program goals. For more information on admission, please visit the Prospective Students page. Applicants must agree to commit to attending at least 70% of the classes for each course, and completing the majority of the homework. By the end of their first year in the CREST program, students must decide if they would like to apply for the MAS Program.

What are the admissions requirements for the Masters of Advanced Studies (MAS) in Clinical Research degree program?

Full- time UCSD Employee or Affiliate (employed by UCSD or affiliates like Rady Children’s Hosp., VA, etc) will apply through the CREST program (Track 2 – transferring to the MAS degree program after 20 units) and enjoy the discounted course fee instead of  paying full MAS fee ($800/unit).  UCSD Fellows/Research Staff pay $300/unit and faculty pay $400/unit through CREST UP TO the first 20 units of the curriculum (40 total for the degree). The CREST and MAS curriculum are identical up to 20 units.

How do I apply?

UCSD and affiliates: UCSD fellows, faculty, junior faculty, VA, Children's Hospital should submit:

  • Agreement letter of primary supervisor (signed)
  • Resume or Curriculum vitae
  • Statement of Purpose 
  • Letters of Recommendation  (3)  

Non-UCSD affiliates: please visit http://clre.ucsd.edu/ for detailed instructions on applying for the Masters of Advanced Studies in Clinical Research program.

Where do I send my application?

UCSD and affiliates: Submit CREST Program Application online. Required documents can be sent to:
CREST Program Office
University of California, San Diego
9500 Gilman Drive, Mail Code 0170X
La Jolla, CA  92093-0170X
Phone: 858-534-9163
Fax: 858-534-9168
schernet@ucsd.edu

Non-UCSD affiliates: See information at http://clre.ucsd.edu/.

CREST program application deadlines

- The registration deadlines are September 30 for the January session and April 30 for the July session

Track II students:

  • Get Advanced Certificate in Clinical Research once completed the 20 unit
  • Continue for Master's Degree in Clinical Research

Track I students:

  • Enroll in individual courses
  • Enrollment is on a space available basis i.e. will be placed on a waiting list (first come-first serve) until administering the certificate/degree students.
  • Can't get Advanced Certificate in Clinical Research or continue for Master's Degree in Clinical Research.

If there are more applicants than can be accommodated for a given course, the Program Director and Co-Directors will determine which applicants will be accepted. Admission will be based on affiliation (preference given to UCSD/VA/Children's Hospital affiliates), level (preference given to fellows), expected benefit of the program to the individual (as determined by factors such as type of research and previous research experience), and date of submission of application.

Could I register for the MAS degree program after completing all of the entire 2-year CREST courses?

No,  you must decide by the end of your 1st year and/or prior to completing the 20 units (must enroll as Track II) if you are going to enroll in the degree program.

How long does it take to complete the CREST program?

The CREST Program consists of 20 credit units of study. Coursework can be completed in 12 to 24 months of study, depending upon a participant's time to devote to the program. Students must enter the program in the winter (January) or in the summer (July) to complete the certificate program in 12 months.

How many credit units are needed to earn the MAS degree?

The master's degree in Clinical Research consists of 40 credit units of study. Coursework can be completed in 18 to 30 months of study, depending upon a participant's time to devote to the program. Students enter the program in the winter (January)or in the summer (July) to complete the degree program in 18 months.

If I apply for the MAS degree program but then decide to leave after completing the second year, can I still receive a certificate for completing the CREST program?

Yes, you'll receive a certificate if you've completed the 20 credit units of study and passed the comprehensive exam.

How much does CREST cost?

All UCSD residents, fellows (including laboratory-based fellows), and faculty pay a discounted fee: The fee for UCSD residents and fellows is $600 per 2 unit course ($300/unit). The fee for UCSD faculty is $800 per 2 unit course ($400/unit). The fee for  Non-UCSD affiliates is $1,600 per 2 unit course ($800/unit)  The fee covers the costs for all lectures and course materials and books.

For those who are interested in the Master of Advanced Studies in Clinical Research degree, there will be additional university fees for each quarter of enrollment. Details of the Masters Degree program and fees can be found here.