A year of radio silence

On June 10th 2017, the formal graduation ceremony held at the TMEC Walter amphitheater at Harvard Medical School and the Certficate of Completion marked the end of a highly demanding yet interesting one-year training named GCSRT (Global Clinical Scholar Research Training). The study of key subjects in clinical research (biostatistics, epidemiology, ethics) was much deeper and thorough than expected. Side subjects such as self- and team management, as well as mentorship and leadership, were also integral part of the course.

The course was based on the combination of intensive workshops based in London and Boston, registered lectures and live webinars with compulsory attendance, with regular exams (twice-weekly) on all subjects. Moreover, other activities were compulsory, such as several team assignments ending with a live presentation online, and last but not least, a final individual assignment in form of a NIH grant request, based on an own research idea, that needed to pass various levels of peer- and faculty reviews.

Failure to pass mid-term exams  would have meant unfitness to sit the final exams which included everything that was handled during the year.

Another obstacle to overcome was to learn how to use the statistics software called STATA, primarily by code programming.

I initially foresaw to invest about 10 hours a week for this course, but it turned out,  I underestimated the workload I would have to take on. Holidays or absences for more than two days could not be considered in the slightest!

I would like to thank everybody who bore the consequences of all this by supporting me in such a huge effort. Partner, family, friends, inner circle and hospital staff: they all contributed with their understanding  and patience to the happy end of this adventure.

I would also like to point out a few interesting aspects that emerged during the course:

  • the teaching method of the Harvard Medical School
  • the platform and system of worldwide teaching
  • the strong push towards collaborative work in small teams.

Getting to know, become and be part of the Harvard family (from now on as an official Alumnus), learning the various subjects at such high level, understanding the positive power of globalization concerning worldwide teaching, the methodology used by this famous university and setting up strong ties with fellow participants that literally came from all over the world: all this has made it a true life experience.

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