Substance use disorders (SUDs) are complex diseases with biopsychosocial underpinnings and multiple medical sequel that are best addressed by multidisciplinary teams of diverse individuals in the treatment and research realms. This proposal requests continued support of a grant (R25 DA020537) that was used to develop and implement several innovative programs, collectively known as the Drug Abuse Research Training (DART) programs, designed to increase the number of clinician-scientists committed to pursuing clinical research careers in the area of SUDs at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC). In the original project period, DART programs targeted psychiatry residents and medical students. In the renewal period, we propose to build on the success of the existing programs by expanding and diversifying the trainees involved in DART programs in strategic directions that align with the priorities of NIDA and the need for interdisciplinary team work that is mandated by the complexities of the patient population with SUDs.
The specific aims of the proposed research education training program are: 1) To continue to attract and train psychiatry residents committed to pursuing research careers focused on patient-oriented research in addictions;2) To transform the DART Summer Research Fellowship for medical students into an interdisciplinary training program by including trainees from the Colleges of Nursing, Dental Medicine and Pharmacy;3) To partner with the existing MUSC Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP) to offer a clinical research training experience focused on SUDs to select undergraduate students;4) To partner with the training and training evaluation programs within the MUSC Clinical and Translational Science Institute (UL1 RR029882) so that DART trainees will benefit from CTSA educational resources and addiction research will gain increased visibility across the MUSC campus;5) To conduct targeted outreach to under-represented minority trainees in all of the DART programs. The multidisciplinary training and partnerships with campus-wide training and research initiatives proposed will facilitate the collaborative clinical and research initiatives that will be necessary to meet critical workforce development needs and move the recognition and treatment of addictive disorders into the mainstream of medical practice.
The participation of clinician-scientists in the biomedical research enterprise helps bridge the gap between basic science and clinical practice to address the healthcare needs of the public. In recent years the number of physicians engaged in research careers has declined by more than half, as have the number of research psychiatrists and research fellowships for psychiatrists. Interdisciplinary training focused on substance abuse disorders (SUDs) should facilitate the collaborative clinical and research initiatives that will be necessary to move the recognition and treatment of addictive disorders into mainstream medical practice.
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