The objective of our T32 training grant entitled "Integrated Cardiovascular Epidemiology Fellowship" is to rigorously train physicians and behavioral scientists in epidemiologic and behavioral research methods focused on preventing cardiovascular diseases by a) providing trainees with an integrated, comprehensive, and intensive 2-year research training experience in cardiovascular disease prevention and/or behavioral medicine, b) linking trainees with highly experienced and dedicated mentors who will supervise the research experience and evaluate their progress and 3) providing instruction to these trainees on multiple related components of the research process, including didactic coursework on epidemiology and /or behavioral medicine, protection of human subjects in research, confidentiality requirements, elements of appropriate and unbiased analysis of data, and, after the completion of training, finding the appropriate venue to utilize their skills. This program began in 2007 with a broadly defined focus on epidemiology and prevention. Over the last four years we have learned that while all trainees are focused on prevention, some have primarily an epidemiologic focus and others are more interested in behavioral medicine in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases. In order to fully accommodate trainees with these different interests, we propose to expand the number of positions in the program from four to eight, and to expand the leadership of the program to two co-directors, one of whom has extensive research experience and a training record in cardiovascular epidemiology, while the other has a similar depth of research and training experience in cardiovascular behavioral medicine. The two co-directors for this renewal proposal are faculty in the Division of Preventive Medicine in the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine in the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine. To achieve this objective, faculty for this renewal proposal have been recruited not only from this Division but from several other divisions in the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, as well as from other Departments in the School of Medicine, including Medicine and Psychiatry. Similarly, faculty have been recruited from the San Diego State University Graduate School of Public Health, which has teaching programs in both epidemiology and health behavior. In addition, the University of California and San Diego State University jointly sponsor two doctoral programs closely linked to this proposal: Public Health (with concentrations in Epidemiology and Health Behavior) and Clinical Psychology.
This T32 renewal proposal is relevant to public health since cardiovascular diseases remain the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in developed countries and the etiology of these diseases is multifactoral. Lifestyle factors, including physical inactivity, poor diet and smoking, account for more than 50% of the burden of cardiovascular disease morbidity and mortality. This program trains pre- and post-doctoral fellows to become researchers to address the epidemiology of cardiovascular disease as well as behavioral factors related to cardiovascular disease.
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