From the Director
I am honored to take the helm of the Reproductive Scientist Development Program (RSDP) as it enters its thirty-first year. The RSDP has been carefully shepherded through its first three decades by leaders in the field of reproductive medicine and I am proud to follow in their footsteps.
The RSDP is a National Institutes of Health (NIH)/Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)-sponsored national K12 training program that was founded by Drs. Larry Longo and Robert Jaffe in 1988. It was managed for many years through the University of California San Francisco until it moved to Washington University in St. Louis under the direction of Dr. Kelle Moley in 2013.
Beginning January 1, 2019, administration of the RSDP moved about 100 miles to the west and is now centered at the University of Missouri under my leadership and as of July 1, 2023 has made another move to Duke University School of Medicine.
Like other K12 programs, the RSDP trains physician-scientists with a particular emphasis on the development of basic science skills that can be leveraged across a lifetime. It offers a unique opportunity to physicians interested in research to delve deeply for 2 years at 75% effort into cutting-edge scientific approaches and techniques under the direction of world-class leaders in the field. In Phase II of the RSDP, scholars continue for two additional years with 75% effort in the laboratory as they return to their sponsoring clinical department duties and begin to transition to independence. Unlike many similar training programs, federal funding for the RSDP is supplemented by very generous support from a variety of sources within the field of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive medicine. These include the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ABOG), The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), the Burroughs Wellcome Foundation, the GOG Foundation, the Society for Reproductive Investigation, and the March of Dimes Foundation. These supplemental funds allow us to provide laboratory supplies funding as well as Seed and Supplement Grant funds. Support from these non federal agencies also allows the RSDP to host our annual Scholar Dinner as well as our annual Retreat.
Now over 100 strong, present and past RSDP scholars form a growing network of physician-scientists with shared experiences and broad interests. Many of these scholars remain in close contact even after completing their training phases. This is a unique strength of the program, providing opportunities for camaraderie and mentorship that can be difficult to find elsewhere. Dr. Moley and I were both products of the early years of the RSDP and have remained strongly committed to its success. Many members of the RSDP Executive, Selection and Evaluation Committees were also trained under the RSDP, a loyalty and commitment that attests to the important and sustained role that the program has played in the professional lives and development of past trainees.
Please browse through our website to gather additional information about this unique program. Strongly consider applying for the RSDP if you are a physician scientist interested in further career development in basic science approaches to solving clinical problems. Feel free to contact Amanda Heflin, our program administrator, or me if you have further questions.
The Reproductive Scientist Development Program (RSDP) is a multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional research career development program for obstetrician-gynecologists in cell and molecular biology and related fundamental sciences. The RSDP is a consortium involving the current host institution — University of Missouri - Columbia — its sponsors and the many institutions around the country that train RSDP scholars.
Danny J. Schust, M.D.
RSDP Program Director
Duke University School of Medicine
Amanda Heflin, MBA
RSDP Program Administrator
Reproductive Scientist Development Program
Duke University School of Medicine
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
200 Trent Drive, Baker House 203
National Cancer Institute
American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology
The American Society for Reproductive Medicine
Burroughs Wellcome Fund
The GOG Foundation
The March of Dimes Foundation
The Society for Reproductive Investigation