About the Program
The number of Americans with deafness or other communication disorders is expected to rise as the nation’s older population increases and as survival rates improve for a wide range of medical conditions associated with disorders of hearing, balance, taste, smell, voice, speech, and language. As such, the NIDCD recognizes the importance of research training and career development opportunities to ensure a productive, creative, and innovative cadre of qualified scientists in basic, clinical, and translational research. The NIDCD is continuously adapting its research training and career development efforts to help new scientists establish careers in our mission areas, encourage clinicians to pursue opportunities in translational research, and build shared research resources.
The NIDCD also recognizes the need to increase diversity among the scientific workforce and to encourage participation in research training programs by students, researchers, and faculty from diverse backgrounds, including individuals who are deaf or hard-of-hearing. The NIDCD works diligently to increase participation of individuals from these groups in its training activities to further the institute’s research mission and to ensure that all populations are served by human communication research.
The field of human communication sciences needs interdisciplinary research teams of clinicians and basic scientists to bridge the gap between laboratory research and patient care. Clinicians need a deeper understanding of the latest research discoveries to bring new diagnostic and treatment approaches into the clinic. Basic researchers need a thorough understanding of the needs, challenges, and opportunities faced by clinicians. The NIDCD believes that cross-training these scientists could spark new ways to better prevent, detect, and treat communication and chemosensory disorders. Interdisciplinary teams of basic scientists and clinicians—including physicians, surgeons, audiologists, and speech-language pathologists—will then be able to initiate and support new directions for scientific discovery, conduct hypothesis-driven clinical trials, assess new diagnostic tools and interventions, and improve public health and well-being.