The initial application of our T32 (5T32AG033534) was funded (via ARRA) for two years (5/1/09- 4/30/11). This proposal is for a 5-year renewal to provide continuity of this successful program, allowing for continued support of new scientists seeking training in the field of clinical gerontology/geriatric research. As a new T32 awardee, we have been able to capitalize on this formal designation and its resources, along with strong institutional support and infrastructure, to expand our previous track record of training promising new investigators from a myriad of disciplines in geriatric research. With a current portfolio of funded grants totaling $9.1 million (direct) awarded to Section on Gerontology faculty, and nearly $32 million (direct) in research funding available to all Sticht Center on Aging faculty, we have the scientific expertise and the depth of resources available to continue to attract and train the next generation of researchers in the field. Currently, there is a dearth of competent investigators with appropriate research skills who are trained and interested in the conduct of clinical research in elderly adults that examines important geriatric outcomes leading to disabilit and loss of independence. Thus, the overall goal of our Training Program in Gerontological and Geriatric Research is to provide for an integrated career development pathway centered on training PhD fellows in the skills and competencies necessary to conduct clinical research with a focus on the prevention of disability. We propose to recruit 1 new investigator per year (2 trainees supported per year) into a two-year training program focused on obtaining experience and training in a specific research methodology and skill set necessary to conduct clinical geriatric research. This approach complements our other training programs and integrates perfectly with the scientific themes of our existing Pepper Center, which is focused on physical function, and our endowed Kulynych Center, which is focused on cognitive function. Scholars will emerge from the training with a scientific understanding of the pathways leading to aging-related disability, with overall competencies needed to conduct randomized clinical trials and/or longitudinal cohort studies in the elderly, experience and expertise in the measurement of cognitive and/or physical disability outcomes, and with a specific technical or methodological skill in line with their individual interests, placing them in a position to transition successfull to an early-stage faculty position and to be highly competitive for beginning faculty training awards to continue their path towards independence.
Expanding knowledge of the best ways to prevent and treat aging-related chronic disease and disability requires the conduct of quality research performed by competent and experienced research scientists. This training program will provide resources for post-doctoral scientists to develop a research career through practical experience and education. Scholars will emerge from the program with a scientific understanding of the pathways leading to aging-related disability, and with a specific set of technical research skills. This will enhance the overall development of future research leaders in geriatric research.
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