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The initial idea to launch the Clinician Investigator Trainee Association of Canada emerged in April 2006, at an Annual Charles Scriver Meeting of Walter and Jessie Boyd & Charles Scriver - MD/PhD Studentship awardees. Attending students identified a need for an association that could address issues common to MD/MSc, MD/PhD and Clinical Investigator Program (CIP) trainees accross Canada.
In the fall of 2006, with formal support from the CIHR Institute of Genetics, approximately 40 trainees from MD, PhD and CIP programs accross Canada, along with key senior scientist advisors, met to develop plans for a national organization, including possible organizational models, mandate, elections plans and effective communication strategies.

An interim planning committee, consisting of representatives from each of the 12 training centres in Canada, was struck to further develop the Association and coordinate plans for an inaugural national meeting in September 2007.

Since then, CITAC mandate has been established and all institutions across Canada offering accredited MD+ clinician investigator trainins programs have been contacted, involved and represented. Annual meetings have been hosted each year and more than 200 trainees have registered as CITAC members.

CITAC is comprised of and governed solely by volunteer CI trainees. As such, all activities carried out by CITAC are in the interest of CI trainees and therefore do not generate a profit. Accordingly, as of May 2011, CITAC has officially attained federal not-for-profit status in Canada.


Mission Statement

The mission of the CITAC is to organize and promote activities that support clinician investigator trainees in Canada, with the intention to improve academic and post-graduate career opportunities, expand institutional and public awareness of clinician investigator programs and develop a nationally accessible information database of student and program development. CITAC aims to improve the early-career conditions of clinician investigators in order to expand and advance innovative research initiatives within Canada.



  • Expand institutional and public awareness of clinician investigator programs and campaign/lobby on identified issues affecting trainees.
  • Provide a forum and foster networking and mentorship activities for clinician investigator trainees across Canada.
  • Develop and maintain a nationally accessible database of student and program information and developments.
  • Document the career paths of Canadian trainees in order to better evaluate clinician investigator programs across the country.
  • Disseminate information to trainees through annual meetings, website, newsletter and publications.


Governance  and Organizational Structure

1. Membership
Any trainee enrolled in an MD/MSc, MD/PhD, or CIP program (including Surgeon Scientist Programs) at an accredited Canadian academic centres is eligible to apply for membership in CITAC. Enrollment as a CITAC member is currently free.

2. Leadership
The leadership of CITAC is EXCLUSIVELY trainee-based and is shared among the members of CITAC who are nominated and elected as members of the Advisory Board, the Executive Committee and the various Administrative Committees. In addition, each institution nominates a local representative to liase between the governing bodies of CITAC and members are each of the academic institutions.

  • Representatives: Representatives are member-appointed individuals from pools of MD/MSc, MD/PhD, and CIP trainees across Canada. There should be one or two CITAC Representatives per academic centre. The term of each representative is determined by the constituency of each academic centre. Representatives will act as liasons between the Association and members at their institutions.
  • The Executive Committee: Five Executive members will be elected annually from among CITAC members. The Executive members need not be Representatives. Executive positions are: President, Vice President (External), Vice President (Internal), Treasurer and Secretary.
  • Administrative Committees: The Executive may strike ad hoc committees and any member at large is eligible to participate in the activities of these committees. Committees will make recommendations to the Executive with respect to specific challenges or to coordinate planned projects.
For complete information on Governance, please see the Constitution & Terms of Reference.

Information Collection Strategies

National Online Database

The overarching goal of a national online database would be to gather and make available information regarding trainee career trajectories, and current programs and opportunities in Canada through a national online database and various print publications.

1. Current Trainee Programs
This includes listing the various MD/PhD, MD/MSc and CIP programs in Canada, with a full description of the structure of each particular program, the administrative contact personnel, the number of students and the funding structure for these students.

2. Trainee Database
We will obtain and maintain a database of students across Canada that are either currently in the programs or alumni. By coordinating this database, the CITAC could compile information that can be used to assess how well these programs prepare people for careers as clinician investigators. For now it would be feasible to use this database for student-based networking and professional development. Ideally, each student should input their information into the database. Periodically, students can update their own profile and thus inform the CITAC of their latest activities. Registered trainees will also have access to discussion fora and other publicly-inaccessible areas of the website.

3. Post-Grad Programs
The CITAC will become a source of information for senior trainees who are contemplating post-grad programs and trying to find ways to continue their research in Canada. A first priority is to compile information from each university about how the individual residencies are structured, particularly concerning the research component(s). The school reps could communicate which residencies have flexible research options, or in which the director is particularly supportive of clinician-scientist trainees. For these programs, the CITAC will describe what is supportive about each environment with a thorough description of it and post the contact information for each program administrator.

4. Studentships and Post-Graduate Funding
The CITAC will compile and make available a list of general and specific scholarships and studentships, which MD+ trainees can access. Although studentships may be specific to each province and school, but this would act as a central resource to students nationally. Similarly, we will outline the various types of grants available to young investigators. For each, information regarding the minimum and recommended background of applicants will be included. Also, we will include information as may be helpful to applicants, such as application guidelines and results from previous applications.


Information Dissemination Strategies

1. Website
The website will be the main information gateway for CITAC. In this site, there will be read-only web-pages for public access, but also forum-based discussions that registered users can participate in. If each trainee has an online profile, the site could also be a means to track all the trainees, since they could update their own profiles.

2. Annual Meeting
A priority of the CITAC will be to hold an annual meeting, which could include scientific, networking and CITAC administrative discussions. Currently, the CSCI is a great initial forum that CITAC aims to get more involved with. Ideally, CITAC will aim to organize student-driven young investigators forum, either at CSCI or independently, that could be attended by all CITAC trainees. This is also where alumni, program directors, residency directors and policy-makers can gather and counsel current students or establish mentorship relationships. There is also a strong social component to this meeting, as communication and collaboration across the country is a goal of the CITAC.

3. Newsletter
Every year or bi-annually, a newsletter containing new and relevant information will be sent to all clinician investigator trainees in Canada. This will outline activities of the CITAC and include information regarding research and/or clinical training in Canada.

4. Publications
In order to increase public and high-level institution awareness (e.g. CIHR, RCPSC), we intend to publish our activities in Canadian medical journals and institutional newsletters. This will also be done at the local level by university reps, concerning relevant local issues.



Once CITAC has gathered all relevant information regarding funding, program structures, etc, it can be a source of lobbying activity. Several ideas are suggested around which CITAC members could organize:

a) residency structures and opportunities
b) tuition fees
c) alternative financing options (banks, private sector investment)
d) new scholarships and grants for MD+ grads seeking to pursue research part-time (national, provincial and regional funding agencies, e.g. CIHR, FRSQ, Michael Smith Foundation, Alberta Heritage Foundation)


Information Transfer and Collaboration

The CITAC will work towards collaboration for academic, research and educational purposes. This may include direct collaboration or sharing of materials for research purposes or the sharing of knowledge of research materials or techniques. This may also include items related to medical education and visiting studentships. The information transfer may be facilitated/encouraged through the annual meeting or through research topics/updates contributed by the members of the group. In the future, this may involve financial support for visiting studentships or for research funding. The goal should be to foster national and international sharing of information or research materials.



Through the various communication methods outlined above, the CITAC will foster mentorship for the purpose of helping trainees strategize and make decisions regarding their career development. In addition, this may include the transfer of research knowledge, recruitment for post-graduate positions (e.g. post-doc, residencies, etc) or personal consultations. By including clinician investigator trainees from various stages of training, as well as communicating with recent graduates, we hope to facilitate the vertical transfer of information and discussion.

For further information, please see the Constitution & Terms of Reference.


Last Updated (Monday, 23 May 2011 21:21)

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