The overarching goal of the proposed training program is to educate and mentor the next generation of prevention scientists in children's mental health who will conduct research addressing three of the four NIMH strategic objectives for scientific research using a translational perspective. By virtue of their participation in this translational prevention science training program, it is anticipated that trainees will (1) strengthen their understanding of the genetic, neurobiological and experiential basis of mental, emotional and behavioral disorders in children and adolescents, (2) learn how to develop and test mechanism-based cognitive, affective, and behavioral interventions that seek to optimize outcomes via innovative intervention strategies, (3) incorporate culturally sensitive needs and preferences into the design of personalized prevention programs, taking into account individual and cultural factors (e.g., acculturation, language preference, different child- rearing practices, mental health stigma) and larger systemic barriers to care (e.g., access to services), and (4) develop communication and collaboration skills that facilitate community-partnered research collaboration. The proposed training program will be offered by a transdisciplinary (TD) consortium of scientists affiliated with three academic research sectors at the University of Minnesota, as well as a network of community practice partners representing child-serving systems of care in children's mental health in the greater Twin Cities area. The proposal seeks support for four pre-doctoral trainees for three-year terms. Trainees will enter the training grant as 2nd year Ph.D. students to maximize the potential for TD training by beginning relatively early in their research careers before their viewpoint becomes too narrowed by training in their major field. The proposed pre-doctoral training experience features TD collaboration oriented around three core areas: prevention science (PS Core), neurobehavioral development (NBD Core), and community intervention and implementation (CI/I Core). The PS Core will provide each student with coursework and mentored training in (a) prevention research concepts and methods, (b) epidemiology of child and adolescent mental health problems, (c) development, risk, and resilience perspectives, and (d) cross-cultural issues in prevention research. The NBD Core will provide each student with opportunities for specialized formal course work, seminars and colloquia and a research apprenticeship in a translational science laboratory. In the CI/I Core, each student will participate in a mixed methods interdisciplinary group and be placed in a community practice care setting matched to a children's mental health problem relevant to his/her chosen area of scientific inquiry. Within this setting trainees will collaborate with community practitioners in the design, implementation, and evaluation of a research study emanating from their translational-based apprenticeship.
This proposal seeks funds to support a new training program in transdisciplinary prevention science. Its goal is to train the next generation of prevention scientists in children's mental health to conduct translational prevention science research leading to the discovery of new and better interventions that incorporate the diverse needs and circumstances of children and youth with mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders.