We are applying for support to continue the Harvard Training Program in Mental Health Policy. This Program, embedded in Harvard?s Interfaculty Ph.D. Program in Health Policy, aims to provide trainees a broad array of skills and knowledge necessary to inform mental health policy making in the U.S. The Program will focus on health-related behaviors, health care utilization, and health outcomes. The Program will also address factors that improve the quality of care for individuals with mental illness and promote the diffusion of new medical discoveries. The Harvard Training Program in Mental Health Policy continues to have three fundamental aims: 1) To offer pre-doctoral trainees strong disciplinary-based training for application to the broad area of health policy. The disciplinary areas of concentration within the Ph.D. Program in Health Policy are: a) economics, b) political analysis, c) decision sciences, d) ethics, e) evaluative science and statistics, and f) management. 2) To provide pre-doctoral trainees with formal and informal experiences that will prepare them to incorporate into their research the features of mental illnesses, the institutional context within which mental health services are delivered, and the nature of public policy decision making in the mental health arena. 3) To provide post-doctoral trainees with mentoring and research experiences that augment their disciplinary training (if a social scientist) or clinical training. In particular, we aim to match each post-doctoral fellow with research experiences that offer an in-depth exposure to mental health care institutions, clinical circumstances, public policy structures, and social science research methods so as to round out their research skills based on their disciplinary background. Graduates of the Harvard Training Program in Mental Health Policy are pursuing a variety of careers in research, policy analysis, and teaching related to mental health policy. Thus far, the Training Program has produced 35 new Ph.D.s who are pursuing research careers related to mental health policy (with two doctoral students graduating in spring 2017 and six others currently in training). Seventeen post-doctoral fellows have completed the Training Program (with two others finishing in summer 2017) and are currently engaged in mental health policy related careers. Former pre- and post-doctoral trainees are employed in major research universities, government, and private research companies. Our former trainees have gone on to successfully compete for NIH research funds (10 K awards and multiple R01 and U awards as PI or co-PI). Research conducted by program trainees and their mentors have made important contributions to the mental health policy evidence base for over 20 years.
Informing mental health policy requires a broad array of skills and knowledge. The Harvard Training Program in Mental Health Policy seeks to train policy researchers and analysts, providing the knowledge and skills to inform and evaluate policy affecting individuals with mental illness. The Program has successfully trained clinicians and social scientists who have expanded the evidence base for the field.
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