This is an application for a 5-year renewal of the T32 Fellowship Program in Geriatric Mental Health at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). As the population ages, the demand for independent investigators in geriatric mental health will continue to increase. Over the last 19 years, we have recruited 92 T32 trainees including 57 postdoctoral Fellows, and 14 predoctoral and 21 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 T32 Fellowship. This T32 program is part of a larger research training program within UCSD's Division of Geriatric Psychiatry. It is also affiliated with the Sam and Rose Stein Institute for Research on Aging, the John A. Hartford Center of Excellence in Geriatric Psychiatry, and the Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) at UCSD. Combining the T32 trainees with those in our two NIH-funded summer research training programs over the past 5 years, 15% of the total trainees have been from Under-Represented Minority (URM) ethnic groups. Nine of the 92 T32 Fellows are still in training;82% of the remaining trainees, who are no longer in the T32 program, are still continuing full-time academic activities. Most trainees have published multiple peer-reviewed papers. Our trainees have obtained 10 NIH, 2 VA, and 1 Foundation Career Development Awards, 14 R01s, 4 VA Merit Review grants, 3 Dept. of Defense grants, 13 R34s/R21s/R03s, 13 NARSAD Young Investigator Awards, 6 NIMH Postdoctoral Minority or Disability Supplements, 4 NIMH Minority Predoctoral Awards, and a number of other competitive grants. Additionally, our other trainees have obtained 3 NIH career development awards and 4 R-type grants during the past 5 years. Integrating various resources for research training at UCSD, we have developed a Mentoring Academy, which seeks to reorient the culture of the academic institution to support, reward, and enhance quality mentoring in clinical and translational research in health sciences. We place major emphasis on career development. The Fellowship program includes individual mentoring along with experiential training in team science, complemented by didactic activities. A personalized training plan is developed for each trainee early in the course of the Fellowship. Writing skills enhancement, guidance on balancing personal life and professional career, and exposure to cross-disciplinary co-mentors characterize our program. This renewal application proposes to support 6 postdoctoral Fellows (optimally, 3 PhDs, 2 MDs or MD-PhDs, and 1 PharmD), 3 predoctoral students (optimally, 2 in clinical psychology and 1 in neuroscience), and 2 summer research slots for pharmacy students annually. Over the next 5 years, we will increase our focus on successful cognitive and emotional aging, physician and pharmacist scientists, basic and translational neuroscience, diversity of trainees, and research on training. We have developed a strong plan for evaluation of the training process including 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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