This research based training proposal is designed to build expertise in intervention research in schizophrenia (SZ), a common, chronic, disabling disorder that entails severe burden on patients and care givers. Medications, the mainstay of treatment for SZ provide only symptomatic relief and fail in the majority of cases, but pharmaceutical firms have slowed their research efforts due to uncertainty about the pathogenesis of SZ. These problems are magnified in low / middle-income countries (LMIC), where new medications are expensive and trained personnel are scant. The absence of effective remedies and the slowed pace of new drug development compel the need for additional research strategies. Research into repurposed drugs, i.e., drugs already licensed for other indications, is a cost effective, practically feasible option for LMICs. We are conducting such research in India and Egypt, two LMICs with a combined population of approximately 1.2 billion. Our training will involve both these countries. Our overall goal is to build human resourc capital by enlarging and sustaining a cadre of ethical psychiatric intervention researchers who will conduct novel research and train future trainees in their countries after completing our training. Through competitive nation-wide searches, we will identify and nurture highly motivated individuals for training in research on repurposed drugs for SZ and related themes. We will focus on psychiatry residents, graduate psychologists / social workers and exceptional medical students. Each trainee will receive didactic training, and then will be teamed with experienced mentor/s. Resources will be provided to each trainee to initiate or build on ongoing local research. Recognizing the aspirations and priorities of LMICs, we will also provide additional opportunities, such as 'hands on'ethics and laboratory based research tracks. Public meetings and special symposia will be used to inform local communities and to attract potential trainees. We will support our trainees well beyond their grant-funded training. Our broad training will enable them to conduct future research in disorders other than SZ, if they so desire. Capitalizing on our funded research, we will mentor 46 professionals through medium (6 months) or long term (2-4 year) training. Our innovative consortium spans 20 years and is based on a vision of international cross-fertilized research and training. Our work began in Delhi, India and has now spread across India and Egypt. Our LMIC collaborators have garnered local funds and resources for innovative research, assumed leadership roles and successfully initiated 'south-south'co-operation. We will include our prior trainees on our multi-disciplinary training faculty o encourage a multiplier effect, with efficient use of research and training funds. Other innovations include locally relevant research and novel strategies to attract potential trainees.
Common mental disorders such as schizophrenia cause severe burden across the world, particularly in low and middle income countries (LMIC). Our overseas research has increasingly investigated benefits from 'repurposed'drugs, i.e., drugs that have already been licensed for other purposes. Our ongoing research will be used as the foundation for training highly motivated health professionals in India and Egypt, which have large populations and enormous health problems. The proposal will enhance treatment research for schizophrenia and thus could also help US citizens. Our proposal fulfills key goals of the Fogarty International Center and the National Institute of Mental Health.
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