This T32 Institutional Training grant, now named The Stuart T. Hauser Research Training Program in Biological and Social Psychiatry, is entering its 33rd year of a very successful post-doctoral training program for MDs, PhDs, and MD/PhDs. Drs. Hauser and McCarley provided leadership for this program from its inception and Dr. Shenton, a former trainee of the program, joined as a Co-Director 18 years ago. When Dr. Hauser passed away in July 2008, Dr. Shenton became the PI and Dr. McCarley stayed on as Co-Director. Dr. Gail Musen joined as the third Co-Director. We now plan to continue what is an intentionally broad program, but one that fits well with NIMH's mission to "transform our understanding of mental illnesses" and "to pave the way for prevention, recovery, and cure". The rationale for this program is quite clear - to train the most diverse and outstanding young investigators, and to equip them with the tools and knowledge needed to succeed in developing their own research careers in the area of biological and/or social psychiatry so as to understand, treat, and ultimately prevent and possibly cure mental illness. We also agree with NIMH's mission that to meet these goals we need to "foster innovative thinking" and to make sure there is "an array of novel scientific perspectives", which are used "to further discovery in the evolvin science of brain, behavior, and experience." In fact one of the top priorities at NIMH, and one of our own, is to "develop new and use existing physiological and computational models to understand the biological functions of genes, gene products, cells, and brain circuits in normal and abnormal mental function." The program is intensive, interdisciplinary (e.g., areas of neuroscience, development, neuroimaging, genetics), and has as its cornerstone a weekly 1.5-hour seminar that includes a 3-month grants module to demystify and to teach the grant process. Trainees also present their work, and there is a topic of general interest selected, where outside speakers are invited. A further goal is for trainees to work with outstanding preceptors in their chosen area to develop further their expertise, and to ensure that they receive the best training possible to compete in what has become a difficult arena to support individual initiated investigator research. There are 41 such preceptors, across multiple research areas and sites, who help to evaluate candidates and who serve as preceptors (14 new preceptors). Trainees devote two years with the goal that at the end of this time they will be ready to conduct their own independent research, or join established clinical research teams as junior colleagues. Over the past 4 years trainees have received 2 NIMH K01 awards, 1 NIMH K08 award, 7 NARSAD awards, and numerous other awards, thus attesting to the high productivity of our trainees. All trainees fill out a needs assessment form upon entering the program and then relevant courses within the Harvard University complex, and the Harvard Catalyst, are reviewed to help fill in any gaps needed for the trainee to meet their research goals. We also attend to recruiting underrepresented individuals. In the last 4 years we have 16% underrepresented minorities and 1 disabled individual (5%).

Public Health Relevance

Mental illness is a major health problem;The Stuart T. Hauser Research Training Program in Biological Psychiatry and Social Psychiatry provides research and mentor-mentee opportunities that are absolutely essential to developing the next generation of scientists in biological, developmental, and translational psychiatry. This program, entering its 33rd year, will train the most diverse and talented young investigators, and equip them with the tools and knowledge needed to succeed in developing their own research so that they can better understand, treat, and ultimately prevent and possibly cure mental illness. The relevance of the program is that we need to improve the health care of those with mental illnesses and this can only be done by investing in the next generation of clinical researchers who will make mental illness more tractable via novel discoveries that lead to improved treatment.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Institutional National Research Service Award (T32)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZMH1)
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Chavez, Mark
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Judge Baker Children's Center
United States
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