Physicians with in-depth experience and formal training in research design, development, implementation, statistical analysis, and interpretation of scientific information are said to be a """"""""rare species"""""""" (NIMH, 1999). In the area of addictions research, the shortage of physicians trained in basic neurobiological and translational research, and in particular psychiatrists who are committed to careers as investigators, is at crisis proportions (NIDA, 2004). Physician scientists will be critical in translating advances in neuroscience into clinical interventions that can improve drug abuse treatment. This application describes a research training program designed to increase the number of physician-scientists with the skills to conduct patient-oriented research in the drug abuse area. The Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) Drug Abuse Research Training (DART) program is a continuum of educational opportunities beginning in medical school and continuing in psychiatric residency. Program components target medical students and general psychiatry residents. Experiences are designed to attract, train, and advance participant's careers as independent investigators in patient-oriented drug abuse research. A coordinated curriculum, research experience, and """"""""hands on"""""""" rotations are provided in support of effective research training to help recruit and prepare physicians to conduct research with individuals with substance use disorders.
The specific aims of this application are: (1) To incorporate a drug abuse research training program within a 4-year psychiatry residency program for physicians committed to pursuing clinical research careers in the area of substance use disorders. (2) To enhance the didactic education of non-DART psychiatry residents in the parent program by increasing exposure to cutting-edge clinical research in the addictions field. (3) To extend participant recruitment into earlier phases of medical training by offering summer research jobs to first-year medical students and a clinical rotation elective in addictions research to fourth-year medical students. The DART program will provide the infrastructure and organizational support necessary to allow us to develop a continuum of programs designed to help increase the number of physician scientists focused on drug abuse research. This program is responsive to NIDA PAR-04-054 Research Education Grants In Drug Abuse and Addiction. The research education plan is consistent with recent recommendations of national consensus panels and builds on the experience of well-established research workforce development programs in the U.S.
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