The proposed training program will support an undergraduate summer research experience at an institution (the University of South Dakota) that enrolls a high percentage of first generation college students (over one third) from a primarily rural environment. This program addresses a critical need of promoting rigorous research education in areas related to substance abuse and mental health issues throughout the country, and will better prepare students in South Dakota for post-graduate careers in basic science or clinical research fields.
The proposed training program is designed to facilitate the pipeline of young promising scientists in the field of substance abuse and mental health research. This is important given that substance abuse and related problems pose a significant social, health and financial burden within the U.S., and the treatment of substance abuse and dependence is often compounded by severe mental illness. Therefore, it is critical to increase the pool of quality, innovative and highly motivated scientists in the area of substance abuse in mental health research.