Washington University's George Warren Brown School of Social Work seeks five years of support to continue its fourteen year old predoctoral training program in mental health services research and NIMH's sole postdoctoral training program in social work. Our training will prepare the next generation of mental health services researchers working to improve the quality of mental health care and the implementation of evidence-based treatments in non-specialty settings serving vulnerable populations. Transdisciplinary training will be organized around a five-component, outcome-focused model designed to yield specific knowledge and skills. Components include didactic course work, seminars, mentoring, research lab work, and scientific networking. Post-doctoral training emphasizes development of a 3-5 year research agenda. Trainees will be equipped to: pursue mental health services research questions that will fill critical gaps in knowledge and are high in public health significance;use state-of-art methodologies that are appropriate to the research question, the populations of concern, and the relevant settings of care;work collaboratively on transdisciplinary research teams;and translate research to inform service delivery and policy. A multi- faceted strategy provides training in the responsible conduct of research. Our NIMH-funded research provides a rich training laboratory, giving every trainee "hands-on" experience with externally funded mental health services research. The training environment further benefits from 10 research centers, 177 externally funded research projects, a newly launched Institute of Public Health, and Washington University's Institute of Clinical and Translational Sciences (an NCRR CTSA grant). We will continue our strong record of retaining and producing independently funded mental health researchers, with 80% of our predoctoral trainees securing dissertation research grants. Training will be systematically evaluated in terms of three key outcomes: placements in competitive academic and research positions;publish scholarly articles in high quality, refereed journals;and conduct independently funded research that advances knowledge of services for persons with mental disorder. We request funds to support eight predoctoral and three postdoctoral trainees per year to maintain the strong cohort that contributes to research training.
Our trainees'research on the quality of mental health care and the implementation of evidence based treatment for vulnerable populations in the social service sector will directly contribute to Objective Four in NIMH's Strategic Plan, "strengthen the public health impact of NIMH supported research". Our training outcomes include the "three T's-transdisciplinary, team players, and translators-called for in NIMH's research training report, Investing in the Future.
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