Child Health Research Career Development Award (CHRCDA) Program


Male And Female Scientists Working In LaboratoryThe CHRCDA program, started in 1990 as the Child Health Research Center program, addresses the gap in support of pediatrician-scientist training of junior faculty who intend to devote their careers to academic pediatrics.

The program, maintained through NICHD’s Pediatric Growth and Nutrition Branch, provides a mechanism for sustained mentoring and intense laboratory-based training during this formative period by providing protected time for research training in the laboratories of scientific leaders.

This program stands out as an unusually successful early-career training program—as measured by NIH funding rates of scholars and successful career trajectories—and has become a key resource for U.S. academic pediatric departments. Since its inception, the program has focused on the training and preparation of pediatric candidates with outstanding scientific potential. The resulting generation of physician-scientists has exceptional training in both clinical pediatrics and basic science and are able to bridge the gap between basic science and the successful treatment of human diseases.

The CHRCDA program does the following to develop the careers of its trainees:

  • Focuses on junior investigators within 4 years of completing their pediatric subspecialty training
  • Requires awardees to train in basic science and encourages them to seek mentors in laboratories outside of their pediatric department thus promoting multidisciplinary projects
  • Provides each awardee with a unique program based on past training experiences and future research and career goals
  • Includes requirements for external yearly program reviews
  • Includes program mentors with notable track records for successful mentoring
  • Offers guidance and feedback from program leadership through mandatory scholar presentations at annual meetings
  • Provides unique networking opportunities for scholars at annual meetings

Topic Areas

The program’s primary focus is to identify and match talented junior faculty with appropriate scientific mentors. These mentors provide the background, techniques, and tools needed to help scholars build a foundation for becoming productive scientists and securing independent research funding.

At each center, established investigators/mentors provide expertise and make their laboratory facilities available to program scholars for research projects that will enhance their basic research skills. This experience also enables scholars to generate preliminary data that can be included in grant applications for independent funding.

Current Sites

  • Boston Children’s Hospital
  • Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center
  • Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
  • Children's National Medical Center (Washington, DC)
  • Duke University
  • Emory University
  • Indiana University
  • University of California, Los Angeles
  • University of California, San Diego
  • University of California, San Francisco
  • University of Iowa
  • University of Michigan
  • University of Pittsburgh
  • Vanderbilt University Medical Center
  • Washington University School of Medicine (St. Louis, MO)

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