This R25 application responds to PAR-12-263, and will enable the UCSD Dept. of Psychiatry to develop a new Research Resident Training Track (RRTT). To address a deficit of Psychiatrists who become academic researchers, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) called for the establishment of Psychiatry RRTTs. UCSD has maintained a Psychiatry RRTT since 1987, via internal funding and 5 years of past NIMH support. The present application builds on the strengths of our past RRTT experiences and the considerable scientific expertise of the UCSD Faculty, and develops a RRTT that is both substantive and innovative. This program will achieve the goals of the IOM and the NIMH Council report, Investing in the Future, and of this FOA, by expanding the pool of Psychiatrist researchers - a crucial step towards improving treatment and outcome for mental disorders. This application will achieve 2 Aims:
Aim 1. To recruit and educate as psychiatric researchers the highest caliber medical graduates, boosting diversity of the applicant pool through a specific, 10-point plan. Trainees will complete a 4-year RRTT (PG I-IV); protected research time increases from 17% (PGY-II) to 70% (PGY-IV). Rigorous didactics in PGY-III - IV weekly seminars will prepare trainees to fulfill the NIMH strategic plan to: 1) promote discovery in the brain and behavioral sciences, 2) chart mental illness trajectories, 3) develop new and better interventions, and 4) strengthen the public health impact of NIMH-supported research. Seminars will provide a comprehensive grounding in the fundamentals of research design, data analysis, manuscript preparation, dissemination of findings, bioethics and the responsible conduct of research. Trainees will acquire academic survival skills and receive careful supervision and personalized career mentorship.
Aim 2. To implement three novel, formative programs fostering career development and retention in Academic Psychiatry: Basic-Clinical Synergy, Focused Community Service, and Early Mentorship Training. Described in detail in this application, these innovative programs will strengthen and sustain Psychiatry RRTT trainees' career connection with mental health research, and with the core missions of academic psychiatry. The UCSD RRTT now has 3 outstanding trainees. Over the next 5 years, with R25 support, UCSD will admit 2 RRTT trainee/yr and graduate 7 RRTT trainees (3 current + 4 new). At the end of 5 years, 8 R25-funded trainees will still be in the pipeline, distributed (2 per year) across PGY-I IV years. These eight trainees will complete their RRTT via renewed R25 or Departmental support, bringing the total yield of this program to 7+8 =15 RRTT trainees. UCSD will provide careful, individualized oversight of each trainee, in an innovative format that will accelerate ther path towards research fellowships, faculty positions and NIH career development and research grants. With this R25, UCSD will achieve the goal of this NIMH Research Education Program by fostering the development of mental health researchers via creative and innovative research educational programs, and advancing the career development of scientists committed to... the mission of the NIMH.

Public Health Relevance

Mental health problems are responsible for a significant public health and socio-economic burden in the US. A shortage of research psychiatrists threatens future advances in the prevention and optimal treatment of mental illness. The proposed psychiatry research residency track will educate and nurture the early career advancement of research psychiatrists, and provide them with the expertise needed to most effectively advance our understanding of the causation of mental health problems and the development of novel therapeutic strategies.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Education Projects (R25)
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Chavez, Mark
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University of California, San Diego
Schools of Medicine
La Jolla
United States
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