About Us

Clinician Scientist Investigator Opportunity Network (CSION)


Mission: Develop active duty clinicians who have a passion/talent for synthesizing promising discovery into practical application

Vision: Mentor gifted clinician-scientists to improve the United States Department of Defense military capability as it relates to the warfighter’s physiology

Background: In 2018, a team of joint Army/Air Force clinicians and scientists approached the 59 MDW Chief Scientist’s Office, Science and Technology to support a newly envisioned program, the Clinician Scientist Investigator Opportunity Network (CSION). The Chief Scientist agreed to sponsor this effort being in line with the ST Vision, “To grow medical leaders”.  The program is unique in that it is 1) Joint, 2) Corps neutral, 3) has no service obligation, and 4) focused on research mission rather than degree granting.

The pipeline of fellows CSION creates is tailored for the needs of the military mission rather than personal gain. With no service obligation, motivated members are offered a non-financial incentive to remain in a career tract specifically designed to retain research-focused medical academicians within the military, in addition to Service Clinical Investigation Programs (CIP) executed by both the Air Force through the 59 MDW/ST Clinical Investigations and Research Support office (STC; AFMS CIP funded) and the Army through the Brooke Army Medical Center Department of Clinical Inquiry in coordination with San Antonio Uniformed Services Health Education Consortium (SAUSHEC) and the Air Force Post Graduate Dental School and Clinics to provide continuous quality clinician scientist training during Graduate Medical Education, Graduate Dental Education/Graduate Health and Science Education programs (GME/GDE/GHSE). 
Coordination with the appropriate clinical chains of command are established to ensure dedicated research time ranging between 0.25-0.8 Full-Time Equivalent (FTE). 59 MDW/ST retains a focus on assisting clinical investigators and growing their research experiences thought participation in RDT&E requirements-aligned programmatic research and CIP funded clinical studies and process improvement efforts; CSION is a natural extension of this primary research, education and training mission objective.
59 MDW/ST specific leadership and support since office standup, includes assistance with program development, to include scientific, technical, program and resource management support, biostatistician consultation, grants development and submission, research budgets and contracts management, research and regulatory compliance, technology transfer assistance to protect AF and other Service specific and DoD Intellectual Property. Other support provided through 59MDW/ST includes identification of and participation with local scientific entities, program introduction to Services’ higher headquarters, DHA, and Joint working groups/committees, as well as scientific leadership, mentorship and resources planning and programming, research education and training, clinical skills operational/readiness training. 59 MDW/ST partners with the United States Army Institute of Surgical Research (USAISR), San Antonio Military Health System (SAMHS), SAUSHEC and Naval Medical Research Unit San Antonio (NAMRU-SA) to advertise and recruit potential CSION candidates and  identify mentors willing to train and mentor clinician scientists in all areas of (DHP RDT&E) programmatic research.
The first class of CSION participants demonstrated increased productivity and provided meaningful input to Ph.D. scientists that will enhance the likelihood that bench-based science will be translated into field-based solutions and clinical practices. For example, in comparison with clinicians in the same field who were not allocated dedicated time for research, CSION participants had 3 times as many publications and presentations as well as more than 10 times as many grant submissions. They also had greater numbers of approved human subjects and animal protocol. The civilian and contractor scientists who lack deployment experience will ultimately gain a better understanding of logistical, resource, and environmental constraints which will translate into improved clinical practices and increase research deliverables in the form of medical knowledge and materiel products.
CSION Leadership:
Lt. Col. Joseph Maddry (Director) Dr. Vic Convertino (Sr. Scientist)
Dr. Michael Morris (SAUSHEC)
Dr. Deb Niemeyer (Sr. Consultant/Sponsor) Dr. Alexander Burdette (Scientific Liaison)
Dr. Melissa Clemons (Scientific Liaison)
Col Erik Weitzel (Past Director)

For more information or how to apply, please contact usaf.jbsa.59-mdw.mbx.59mdw-ST@health.mil.
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