This is an application for a 5-year renewal of the T-32 Fellowship Program in Geriatric Mental Health at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). As the population ages, the demand for well trained independent investigators in geriatric mental health will continue to increase. Over the last 14 years, we have recruited 67 T-32 trainees including 43 postdoctoral Fellows, and 11 predoctoral and 13 medical students. A majority of the trainees have been women and more than a quarter have come from different ethnic minority groups. Over 90% of the trainees (other than medical students) completed at least 2 years of T-32 Fellowship. This T-32 program is a part of a larger research training program within UCSD's Division of Geriatric Psychiatry. It is affiliated with NIMH-funded Advanced Center for Innovation in Services and Intervention Research (ACISIR), which has a distinct Bioethics Unit and a Latino Studies Unit. On combining the T-32 trainees with those in our three NIH-funded summer research training programs over the past 5 years, 15% of the total trainees have been from Under-Represented Minority ethnic groups. Nine of the 67 T-32 Fellows are still in training;82% of the remaining trainees, who are no longer in the.T-32 program, are still continuing full-time academic activities. Most trainees have published multiple peer-reviewed papers. Our trainees have obtained 9 NIMH and 2 VA Career Development Awards, 7 RO1s, 8 R34s/R21s/R03s, 11 NARSAD Young Investigator Awards, 6 NIMH Postdoctoral Minority or Disability Supplements, 4 NIMH Minority Predoctoral Awards, and a number of other competitive grants. We place major emphasis on career development. The Fellowship program includes individual mentoring along with experiential research training, complemented by didactic activities. A personalized training plan is developed for each trainee early in the course of the Fellowship. Training in bioethics, research methodology, cultural competence, laboratory and project management, and writing skills enhancement, along with guidance on balancing personal life and professional career, and exposure to inter-disciplinary mentors are key features of our program. This renewal application proposes to support eight postdoctoral and three predoctoral Fellowship positions, with an additional predoctoral slot to be divided to support four medical students in short-term training annually. We will increase our focus on physician scientists, translational researchers (with both types of translation - from bench to bedside and from bedside to community), and diversity of trainees. We have developed a strong plan for evaluation of the training process as well as short-term, intermediate-term, and long-term outcomes.
This training program will facilitate the development of a diverse and highly trained workforce that will ultimately assume leadership roles related to the nation's biomedical and behavioral research agenda. More specifically, the program will train researchers with expertise in geriatric mental health to help meet the needs of our rapidly aging society.
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