Drug Dependence Through the Lifespan: Thai-Yale Training Program Drug dependence is a set of chronic, non-communicable diseases that constitute a global public health problem of enormous economic, social, and medical cost to the international community. Developing countries, in particular, are disproportionately affected, due to both the economic incentives associated with the production of illicit drugs, and the less well-established institutional infrastructures (facilities, personnel, and research) dedicated to the understanding, treatment and prevention of drug dependence disorders - problems that are often specific to world regions. In this application, we propose a collaborative research training program in drug dependence between Faculty of Medicine, Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand (a leading medical research center in Thailand) and the Yale University School of Medicine in the U.S. Three major training mechanisms are proposed for Thai trainees, including long-term (1-2-yr) predoctoral and postdoctoral fellowships, and short and intermediate-term (1-6 months) mini-fellowships. Over the course of the five year program, training responsibility increases at Chulalongkorn (as experience builds) and decreases at Yale, such that in the final two years the Thai site is responsible for two postdoctoral FTEs. This program builds on an extensive research program in drug dependence at Yale University School of Medicine, and on existing training and research collaborations between investigators at Yale and investigators at Chulalongkorn in the study of the genetics of drug dependence in Thai populations. The program will contribute to the capacity of investigators at Chulalongkorn and more generally in Thailand to conduct state-of-the-art research in substance dependence through a range of training experiences (genetics, epidemiology, molecular biology, clinical, developmental, and translational neuroscience, psychopharmacology and clinical trials, and health services and evaluation research). The explicit long-term goal of the program will be to build a critical mass of scientists, health professionals, and academics with expertise and a sustainable research environment at the collaborating lower-middle income country to understand better, treat, and prevent the chronic non- communicable disease of drug dependence. The training program is also specifically designed to serve a major public health purpose by enhancing Thailand's capacity to confront an epidemic of drug dependence that is unprecedented in its history.
It is critically important to train a generation of researchers in Thailand who are equipped to address the issue of substance dependence in its various manifestations throughout the lifespan. The present proposal addresses this need by training researchers in the US, and by building capacity for future training at Chulalongkorn Faculty of Medicine, in Thailand.
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