|UNC is first recipient of grant to establish allergy, immunology training program|
|March 21, 2004|
CHAPEL HILL -- The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is the first recipient of a new grant given to establish a physician subspecialty training program in allergy and immunology.
The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology selected UNC's allergy and immunology program, from a nationwide pool of applicants, as this year's sole recipient of the $250,000 grant from its new Phoenix Program. The professional organization will officially announce its selection of UNC during its 60th annual meeting, which will take place Friday (March 19) through March 23 in San Francisco.
"This is a tremendous honor for UNC," said Dr. Dhavalkumar D. Patel, director of the Thurston Arthritis Research Center and chief of the division of rheumatology, allergy and immunology in UNC's School of Medicine.
"The Phoenix Program grant is a critical element in the development of our new allergy-immunology training program. Being the first award recipient, we hope that we are able to serve as a successful example for future grant recipients," Patel said.
Applications for the 2004 Phoenix Program were ranked by an ad hoc review committee and presented to the academy's board and the board of trustees for its Education and Research Trust for their approval. UNC was unanimously selected as the top candidate.
Applications were judged on the quality of the plan for and the commitment of the division to the new allergy and immunology training program, and the selected institution is also responsible for providing matching funds. UNC has committed $291,485 for this purpose.
UNC's new program is a joint effort among the School of Medicine's departments of medicine and pediatrics, the Thurston Arthritis Research Center and the Center for Environmental Medicine, Asthma and Lung Biology. It will be headed by Patel, with Dr. David B. Peden, chief of the division of immunology and infectious disease in the UNC department of pediatrics, serving as training program director.
More than 50 faculty members from UNC's School of Medicine, as well as from other major UNC components such as the School of Public Health, will take part in the research and clinical training of two allergy-immunology fellows each year. In addition, one researcher each from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences will serve as program faculty.
"I am pleased to announce that the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is the first recipient of Phoenix Program funds and look forward to watching its growth and progress in the future," said Dr. Lanny Rosenwasser, outgoing academy president. "This is a bold new effort, and the Phoenix Program has the potential to make a long-lasting impact on the specialty."
Since 1990, there has been a dramatic decrease in the number of allergy and immunology training programs and overall fellowship slots nationwide, according to the academy. Only 50 percent of medical schools have allergy programs in association with their pediatric or internal medicine programs. If the current model continues, the academy reported, work-force studies indicate that by 2014 the United States will have only 37 percent of the total number of allergist-immunologists needed to care for patients.
To combat this trend, the academy requested applications from medical schools nationwide for a grant that could be used to develop a new training program, or to assist a recently established program, that would meet the allergy and immunology program requirements of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education.
The academy plans to select medical schools to receive Phoenix Program funds in five out of the next seven years, with the hope of establishing between five and seven new training programs. These training programs would create between 15 and 20 new training slots for fellows.
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Note: This news release was researched and written by Tom Hughes of the UNC School of Medicine.
School of Medicine contact: Stephanie Crayton-Robinson, (919) 966-2860