The main objective of the interdisciplinary Prevention And Methodology Training (PAMT) program (T32 DA017629) is to produce two types of well-trained scientists: prevention scientists who apply the most appropriate methodology in their research and can do this even when the methodology is advanced and cutting-edge;and methodologists who understand and are committed to prevention, and who work on improving and disseminating methodology for use in prevention research. The pre- and post-doctoral training program involves the Prevention Research Center (PRC) and the Methodology Center (MC) at Penn State, and the Departments of Human Development and Family Studies, Biobehavioral Health, and Communication Arts &Sciences. PAMT has successfully trained 26 productive scientists since its inception: twenty were funded by the T32 and six through matching funds provided by Penn State. The PAMT program seeks five more years of funding for several reasons. First, during its five years, due to the high visibility of both the MC and PRC and the role of Penn State in prevention research, we have attracted a very bright and diverse group of early career scientists who have been very productive during this period: six have been awarded individual NRSAs;89 articles have been published in prestigious journals;and 122 presentations have been made at national conferences. Second, the PAMT program is positioned to meet a critical set of training needs that have been identified as central to NIDA's portfolio and the nation's needs in prevention research as identified in two new, prominent reports: Preventing Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral Disorders Among Young People: Progress and Possibilities (IOM, 2009);and a review committee report from the NIDA Council on the NIDA prevention research portfolio (NIDA, 2009), which recommended increasing both research and training related to the interface of methodology and prevention science The PAMT program is specifically designed to facilitate this interface;each PAMT fellow works closely with two mentors--one who specializes in prevention and one who specializes in methods--to assure that fellows simultaneously address both applied aspects of prevention and basic issues in methods. Most mentors have active NIH grants, ensuring that the fellows are working on issues related to public health that are both current and meet high scientific rigor. Thus the mentoring and training program established in PAMT propels young scientists to address research questions in substance abuse prevention as a result of engaging in methodology training in the field of prevention research.
Prevention research is complex, requiring the application of new methods and analytic strategies to maximize lessons to be learned from field trials of prevention. At the same time, methodological advances must be grounded in the reality of field work: measurement issues, research designs, and accompanying data analysis strategies must be fully responsive to the complexities of conducting field work in applied settings. PAMT pre- and post-doctoral fellows engage in cutting-edge work that integrates prevention science and methods into a seamless approach to understanding and preventing substance abuse.
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