This proposal seeks competitive renewal of a NIDA T32 grant (DA022981) to support the UAMS training program Translational Training in Addiction. Initially funded in 2009, the program is designed to provide multi-level, transdisciplinary, team science training that spans the gamut of the molecular to community- based components of translational addiction research. Quantitative and qualitative data support the excellent outcomes of the current training plan. The proposed program plan extends the training goals to accomplish a state-of-the-art best practice approach to training the next generation of impacting addiction scientists across a broadening academic and non-academic workforce and basic and clinical research academic settings. Program evaluation is based on progress related to seven training objectives including (1) develop a shared knowledge of the scientific, clinical, and societal roles and impact of drug use disorders, (2) provide an individualized path of addiction research career development, (3) provide learning environments emphasizing interdisciplinary, team science, translational research, (4) provide grounding and training in research ethics and diversity, (5) remove barriers to independence and post-training placement, (6) monitor trainee and program progress, and (7) develop addiction physician-scientists. Program administration and management would be accomplished by coordinated interactions of the program Director, Steering Committee, and Governance Committee. Support is requested for four levels of trainees: 3 predoctoral, 4 postdoctoral, and 4 medical student summer interns. This will be complemented by the institutional support of a PGY3 psychiatry resident. Program-wide and track-selective didactics would support interdisciplinary T0 (molecular target identification)-T4 (implementation science) translational research training opportunities in broad academic as well as government addiction research settings emphasizing trainee-trainee and trainee-faculty interactions. Trainee and program success relative to career development milestones would be regularly monitored and evaluated. Barriers to career development would be addressed by a Path to Independence component of the program. Significant, multi- level institutional commitment and resources support the value and continued success of the program. A trainee-led Community Outreach component would educate and engage the local and state communities in addressing the problems of drug addiction. Based on 3+ years of program experience, the NIDA T32 training program at UAMS has accomplished its initial goals of effectively training demographically diverse and ethically conscious addiction researchers and placing trainees in competitive postdoctoral and faculty academic positions, as well as influencing the awareness and appreciation of addiction research by training physicians. The going forward plan seeks to build on this success and extend the scope and impact of clinical translational research related to addiction problem solving.
The current and future success of science in solving the drug addiction problem is dependent on the broad partnership between researchers, clinicians, and communities that deliver discovery to clinical care. This goal is best attained by interdisciplinar, team-based, clinical translational research and the ultimate program goal is to develop this next generation of addiction investigators. As the sole NIDA T32 training program and the only academic medical center in the state of Arkansas, the proposed program seeks to meaningfully impact the immense public health problem of drug addiction at both the national and state levels.
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