This USC multidisciplinary research training program in Gerontology provides predoctoral and postdoctoral training within key disciplines in aging and familiarity with the theory and approaches of related disciplines. The intent is to inspire student to incorporate multidisciplinary models in their research. The training program involves predoctoral training in Biology, Gerontology, Psychology, and Preventive Medicine. Postdoctoral students can also be appointed through Economics, Sociology and Policy Planning and Development. The focus of the program is on physical and mental health over the lifecycle and factors influencing health. The current program emphases reflect the research strength of current faculty: cognitive decline and mental and emotional change associated with the aging process;physical and functional change across the lifespan;the role of social, contextual, environmental and institutional factors in promoting or delaying physical and cognitive age changes;the biological pathways, including the role of genetic factors, promoting or delaying age changes. The training program is housed in a multidisciplinary independent School, the Davis School of Gerontology, devoted to the study of aging. The training is directed by a multidisciplinary faculty with a concentrated focus on aging research. The training environment is rich with resources and research opportunities. Training is accomplished through completion of disciplinary departmental requirements for the Ph.D. including(1) mandatory and recommended participation in multidisciplinary courses supplemented by courses in related disciplines;(2) research experience within and across disciplines;(3) close mentoring relationships between trainees and one or more preceptors;(4) involvement of trainees in additional research training experiences such as courses and professional meetings;(5) encouragement and sound mentor support of trainees to publish papers and make presentations at professional meetings. The training program's goal is to train students with research interests in aging to develop and establish independent research careers in the field of aging and be prepared to work in emerging multidisciplinary areas. Funding is requested to support 7 predoctoral and 3 postdoctoral trainees. The program draws from a large pool of talented students desiring to work in aging research. Almost all students who enter the program complete it successfully and launch productive research careers in aging. The program has successfully recruited and trained a large number of under-represented minority scholars.
America's aging society requires greater understanding of the changes in mental and physical health that occur with aging. Since health is affected by biological, sociological, economic, and psychological factors which operate within a policy, epidemiological, and environmental context, multidisciplinary training is essential for future researchers in aging. This program prepares researchers to understand the complexities of aging and to communicate to professionals, clinicians and legislators the impact of a variety of factors on population health. Trainees will learn to answer questions that increasingly gain in national importance.
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