This competing continuation application requests funding for an institutional postdoctoral Training Program (TP) in Mental Health Services and Systems Research co-sponsored by the two leading public and private universities in the southeastern United States-the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Duke University-that are located within ten miles of each other in the Triangle area of North Carolina. Training occurs at the Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research (Sheps Center) at UNC and the Mental Health Services Effectiveness Research Program and Center for Developmental Epidemiology in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Duke University Medical Center (Duke). The TP goals are to expand the pool of independent investigators capable of undertaking policy-relevant mental health services and systems research in three areas: mental health laws and state policies, mental health and criminal justice, and child and adolescent mental health services. This TP for social/behavioral scientists and clinicians has two components: (1) core activities and (2) individualized study. The core component involves alternating bi-weekly research seminars and journal club meetings, a semester-long research proposal writing seminar, departmental seminars and grand rounds at the collaborating institutions, and other research seminars/workshops at UNC or Duke. The individualized study component is tailored to the special interests and needs of each fellow. It is based on an apprentice-type model whereby each fellow is linked to one or more mentor(s) who works with the fellow to develop research skills and opportunities. The TP remains committed to interdisciplinary training, a public sector orientation, and a special focus on persons with severe and persistent mental illness. The success of this interdisciplinary training can be measured by the accomplishments of the 48 fellows who have participated to date. Most now hold academic or other research positions, have numerous publications, and funded research projects. Innovative emphases have been continually added to the TP since its inception to assure that graduates are capable of pursuing the latest developments in services and systems research. During the next five years, we will introduce and enhance fellows'research in comparative- effectiveness and patient-centered care, integration of mental health and health care, and legal aspects of population mental health. Given the sustained excellence of this training program, funds are requested to continue NRSA-support for four postdoctoral fellows each year during the next five-years.
Post-doctoral training is the pipeline to meeting the nation's future public mental health research needs. This postdoctoral program prepares young investigators for careers in mental health services and systems research to develop the knowledge-base for effective services and supports that can help improve the lives of people with serious mental illness.
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