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Interview with Elaine Gallin, Program Director for Medical Research at the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation

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The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (DDCF) is an independent private foundation devoted to improving the quality of people's lives through grants supporting four specific areas: the performing arts, wildlife conservation, medical research, and the prevention of child abuse. The foundation was established in 1996 and began awarding grants in 1997. By the end of 2004, more than 500 grants had been awarded to support work in the focus areas. In the area of medical research, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation has established and developed a number of programs that have been designed to assist in the development of physician-scientists. We spoke with Elaine Gallin, PhD, program director for medical research since May 1999. As the Foundation's first such director, she has played an important role in the creation and management of the Doris Duke grant programs committed to support and strengthen clinical research.

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Elaine Gallin

JIM: The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation has established a substantial presence supporting initiatives in the areas of clinical and translational research. Can you describe for us the range of activities that you support?

Gallin: Our overall goal is to support and strengthen clinical research in order to speed the translation of basic biomedical discoveries into new treatments, preventions, and cures for human diseases. We have developed four program strategies to help us achieve this goal.

The first strategy is to support physician-scientists conducting clinical research at three different points in their career ladder.

First, we offer Distinguished Clinical Investigator Awards to midcareer investigators. Recipients receive a 5- to 7-year grant of $1.5 million to support their translational clinical research and mentoring activities. One-third of their funds need to be used to mentor junior investigators and trainees. This award focuses, in great part, on the need for more role models and mentors.

Second, we fund junior …

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