The practice of psychiatry is increasingly becoming an evidence-based science that is built upon our evolving understanding of the biological underpinnings of mental illness accompanied by the establishment of effective means of delivering high quality care. Resident psychiatrists learn best practices during their training, bu the pipeline of physicians trained to lead mental health research programs in the future is in jeopardy. Multiple barriers interfere with the likelihood that a psychiatrist will choose to become a researcher including recruitment, retention, advancement, and financial counter-incentives. We intend to address these barriers at the University of Washington with an R25-supported Psychiatry Resident Research Program (PRRP). Our proposal is to recruit four residents into our research track every year. The PRRP will emphasize three areas of excellence within our Department: Neuroscience, Health Services, and Addiction Psychiatry, but participating residents may also continue to choose from among a wider range of mentors for their research experience. We will build this program based on already successful existing components including our Neuroscience Research Track and our Psychiatry-Primary Care T32 Program. The PRRP will be overseen by an internal organizing committee and will be guided by an external advisory committee. We are well positioned for success because our starting point is based on a vibrant, diverse, and highly competitive residency program that has strong leadership and institutional commitment. Even though we already have seven residents active in the Research Pathway, the PRRP will allow us to attract more research-oriented residents to our residency. PRRP participants will begin the process of selecting a mentor during their first or second year and will gradually expand research time each year; the typical participant will have 80% research time available for 16 months, scheduled in a flexible manner that fits their research training needs. A The curriculum will meet the individual's needs and consist of group tutorials, advanced coursework, grant writing course, structured education in the responsible conduct of research, research seminars and conferences, and scientific and career guidance from a mentoring committee. We will emphasize creating a smooth transition from resident to faculty status by encouraging participants to apply for positions on our existing NIH T32 grants and VA research fellowships, apply for Institutional KL2 awards and NIH K08 awards, and secure PHS loan repayment awards. We will expand our applicant pool by reaching out to medical students from under- represented groups and those with a demonstrated commitment to research. Success of the program will be demonstrated by fully filling the PRRP class each year, attracting a diverse group of participants, increasing the rate of successful transition to fellowship and career development experiences, and ultimately launching more psychiatrists into research careers. Additional benefits will include the positive impact on the academic culture of our entire residency and influencing research oriented medical students to become psychiatrists.
The Psychiatry Residency Research Program will increase the recruitment and retention of psychiatrists into careers in mental health research. The research training will involve a diverse range of topics, but will focus especially on health services, mental health aspects of addiction, and neuroscience. This program addresses the critical shortage in physicians trained to do cutting edge research and will also enrich the clinicl training of the entire residency program.