The George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University seeks an additional five years of support for a predoctoral and postdoctoral research training program focusing on services to, treatment of, and policies affecting populations vulnerable to substance use disorders and co-occurring and comorbid conditions. The Transdisciplinary Training in Addictions Research (TranSTAR) Program will provide a stimulating and collaborative research training environment that transcends disciplinary boundaries.
It aims to produce a cadre of well-trained addictions researchers, with state-of-the-art knowledge of addictions services, delivered in non- specialty settings, and particularly targeted to underserved, vulnerable populations. TranSTAR embraces the paradigm that "no single factor determines whether a person will become addicted" as highlighted in a recent NIDA report (NIDA 2010, p. 8). Hence, TranSTAR emphasizes the importance of understanding protective and modifiable risk factors and co-occurring and co morbid conditions that "inform, influence, and interact" with drug use, abuse, dependence, and addictive behaviors. Trainees will acquire the necessary knowledge and skills to: (1) conceptualize meaningful research questions with practical implications for service delivery, policy, and applied research;(2) execute research projects using rigorous and cutting-edge methods;(3) create competitive grant applications;and (4) translate and disseminate results with potential for high impact. TranSTAR will provide: (a) transdisciplinary and specialized coursework and seminars, beyond required doctoral courses, taught by leading faculty in social work, public health, psychiatry, statistics, and the social sciences;(b) structured mentoring, advising, and "hands-on" experience, on funded addictions research projects through three predoctoral semesters of required research practice and in other semesters, research assistantships;(c) pilot study work groups and proposal critique review sessions;(d) predoctoral teaching assistantships in Master-level courses in addiction, comorbid conditions, statistics, and research methodology;(e) professional development sessions on presentation skills, effective communication of research findings, and "soft-skills" related to networking and effective collaborative team science;and (f) on-going, multi-faceted training in ethics and the responsible conduct of research. TranSTAR uses a three-tiered approach to on- going monitoring and evaluation of key program success indicators and achievement of milestones. We request funds for three predoctoral and two postdoctoral trainees per year to maintain a cohesive training cohort through the duration of training.
NIDA estimates that drug abuse and addiction contribute to the death of more than 100,000 Americans annually, at a cost of more than half a trillion dollars per year, when considering the associated harms to individuals, families, and society. The nation needs a workforce equipped to impact the modifiable risk and protective factors for addiction, particularly among vulnerable and minority populations. TranSTAR aims to train future addictions researchers to work across disciplinary boundaries, to produce translatable research that will inform prevention and treatment delivered in non-specialty, social services sectors.
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