The applicant proposes a program in which graduate level students and professionals in the fields of public health and mental health acquire innovative research skills to address drug abuse and other behavioral health concerns of children and adolescents. In acknowledgement that translational research is now at the forefront of innovative research education, the Institute for Translational Research Education in Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health (ITRE) will focus on translational research methods, policies and perspectives, and the practical skills of participatory research. A cross-disciplinary collaborativ approach, involving two Colleges at the University of South Florida: the College of Public Health and the College of Behavioral and Community Sciences, as well as local community service agencies, is proposed with special attention to evidence-based practice, translational research, and children and adolescents as an at-risk population. Our emphasis is on addressing research education for children and adolescents who have drug abuse problems and other co-morbid behavioral health conditions, defined as the array of mental, emotional and behavioral disorders of childhood that, along with drug abuse, have devastating effects on adolescent development. Special attention will be afforded to childhood precursors to drug abuse and mental disorders in middle to late adolescence, such as early onset substance use, and externalizing disruptive behavior disorders.
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