The visits occur over a 1- to 2-day period. Each visit begins with an orientation by the Clinical Center Director or the Deputy Director for Clinical Care, Clinical Center.
The chair of the department being reviewed or his/her designee presents to the site visit team a departmental overview as well as a broad description of the entire portfolio of clinical research being conducted by the department, including the work that is collaborative with institutes and/or other Clinical Center scientists. For projects that are collaborative with institute scientists, the Board of Scientific Counselors' review from the institute laboratory or Branch that reviews the collaborative work will be included in the materials distributed to the Board.
Each tenured or tenure-track investigator spends approximately 30 minutes with the site visit team in a formal presentation and discussion. In addition, staff clinicians or staff scientists who have lead roles in independent projects may be asked to present those projects as well in a structured oral presentation of appropriate length. The purpose of these oral sessions is to clarify issues and resolve ambiguities identified in the written materials.
The site visit team also has the opportunity to visit the investigators' laboratories for a "hands-on" review of data, evaluation of experimental setups and an informal discussion with postdoctoral fellows and students. This discussion with fellows and students focuses on the training environment and the quality of mentoring available to the trainees. During their visits, the site visit team develops written critiques of each independent investigator.
The Board of Scientific Counselors' team enters into an executive session, leading to the production of a draft report. The recommendations of the Board of Scientific Counselors may relate to experimental plans and scientific directions, changes in funding, allocation of space, allocation of staffing, advancement to tenure-track or tenure, as well as more global recommendations, such as those pertaining to the quality and presence of mentorship, the absence, presence and/or quality of scientific synergy within the clinical department, etc.
At the end of their deliberations, the team meets privately with the Department Chief under review to discuss their findings and to provide the Department Chief with opportunity for comment. The team then meets with the Director, Clinical Center, the Deputy Director for Clinical Care, Clinical Center, and the Deputy Director for Intramural Research, NIH (or designee), to present an oral summary of their findings. Before departure from the NIH, the team hands in the draft report. The Deputy Director for Clinical Care, CC collates and formats the response. The final report is submitted to the Director of the Clinical Center within two months of the visit.