This submission is for continued support (years 16-20) of the T-32 "Research Training in Late-life Neuropsychiatric Disorders". At last submission "the reviewers felt this was a very strong application with a few minor weaknesses, and that it would help to address the growing need for research within the field of geriatric neuropsychiatry." In the past 10 years the fellowship has enrolled 20 fellows, 50% MDs (5 neurologists, 4 psychiatrists, 1 radiologist) 10% MD/PhD (I neurologist 1 psychiatrist) 40% PhDs, 35% female and 15% minorities. There was a 93% graduation rate (1 drop-out although that person -Jason Steffener- later came back to research at Columbia and received a K award) and there are currently 6 fellows in training or accepted to begin 7/1/13. Of the 13 graduates 62% (8) submitted K award applications and 38% (5) have received K awards or the equivalent;75% (6/8) of those that did not receive a K had other significant funding (NARSAD, American Suicide Foundation, Janssen Translational), and 50% (3/6) of the fellows who graduated 6-10 years ago have been the PI or Co-PI of an R series NIMH grant (Moreno, Morales, Sneed). 70% (9/13) of graduates are currently doing primarily research. All of the fellowship slots have been filled with very qualified candidates. The critical issue is how to continue the successful track record. To maintain the quality and vitality of the program a number of changes have been made;1) new mentors have been added that strengthen the basic science and translational opportunities for fellows, 2) there has been a significant revision in the statistics and research design classes and 3) there are additions to the program to teach the Responsible Conduct of Research. A continued challenge for the program is the recruitment of minorities and psychiatrists. There are initiatives in place at the level of the University, Medical Center, Department of Psychiatry and specific to this T-32 that represent a sustained and multifaceted approach to increase the recruitment of minorities. In the past 10 years 25% of the fellows have been psychiatrists. The development of a clinical geriatric fellowship in the Department of Psychiatry (began in 2012) has already enhanced recruitment;both new fellows beginning 7/1/13 are psychiatrists and one is completing the clinical geriatric fellowship this year. As part of the plan to increase the recruitment of psychiatrists, the Department of Psychiatry will provide psychiatrist fellows significant salary supplementation to the T-32 stipend during the fellowship so that their salary equals their PGY level (The Department Of Neurology also provides supplementation for fellows who have neurology training). This means that fellows do not have to "moonlight" to add to the training stipend and can truly devote themselves to developing their skills as a researcher.
By the year 2030, there will be 65 million Americans over the age of 65 representing 22% of the population. In the same time period, the number of Americans 85 and older will more than double. As the population ages the prevalence of late-life neuropsychiatric disorders will correspondingly increase. However, there is a shortage of clinical and basic researchers focused on psychiatric disorders in the elderly. The goal of this training program continues to be the development of career scientists with the knowledge base and expertise needed to conduct programmatic basic and/or clinical research in the neuropsychiatric disorders of late-life.
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