In addition to its clinical and basic science research funding programs, the ASSH Research Division offers a variety of opportunities aimed at supporting and mentoring both established and younger investigator-hand surgeons.
Residents considering a career in hand surgery and fellows obtaining subspecialty training in hand surgery can apply for research funding through the Fast Track Grant Program. This program offers grants for support of small research projects carried out during the academic year under the supervision of ASSH members.
Young investigators can seek guidance for the development of their research ideas and careers through the Research Management Committee's (RMC) mentoring program. Each June, individuals who have applied for research support from the American Foundation for Surgery of the Hand (AFSH) are invited to Chicago to participate in small group meetings with senior investigators. Discussion can range from issues surrounding a specific research question to more general topics related to balancing clinical practice with protected research time or maximizing the chances of success in applying for support from granting agencies.
An extension of this kind of mentoring can also be obtained through the Clinical Scientist Development Program, which represents a joint effort by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) and the Orthopaedic Research and Education Foundation (OREF).
Investigators in all stages of their careers can also discuss their ideas and works-in-progress at the Clinical Investigators Workshop and at the Basic Science Investigators Workshop, both of which take place on the Wednesday afternoon before the ASSH Annual Meeting. The objective of these workshops is to provide a forum in which investigators can meet with experienced researchers and talk about their challenges in carrying out their studies. For more information, contact Sarah Meyer Hughes (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The ASSH also seeks to help investigators craft the best submission possible when applying for research support. To achieve this goal, the organization funds one individual each year to attend the US Bone and Joint Decade Grant Writing Workshop.
Finally, through a partnership with the Plastic Surgery Education Foundation (PSEF), the ASSH offers support for Hand Surgeon Scientists. Individuals who have received a Research Development Award (K Series) from the National Institute of Health can apply to have their support doubled by this program. The intent is to nurture hand surgeons who are committed to a career in research. The award is for five years of support and is an incredible opportunity for young clinician scientists to make a successful start to a productive career.