This application is for competitive renewal (Years 10 through 14) of an NIMH Institutional National Research Service Award (T32 MH20061) titled, "Postdoctoral Training Program in Suicide Prevention Research." We seek support for six postdoctoral training slots (no predoctoral positions.) A component of the University of Rochester's (UR) Center for the Study of the Prevention Suicide (CSPS), this training program (referred to in the application as the "CSPS T32") has as its long-term objective to develop a cadre of young scientists with the depth and breadth of knowledge and experience necessary to establish careers as independent investigators and members of interdisciplinary teams dedicated to the study of suicide and its prevention. Fellows in psychology, psychiatry, and other disciplines relevant to the study of suicide and its prevention undergo a two-year training sequence guided by an "academic development plan" designed by each fellow and her/his mentor at the outset of training. The curriculum includes a coordinated series of courses, seminars, and workshops designed to provide the fellow with a firm foundation in the theories and methods of suicide and clinical intervention research. Core areas of knowledge and skill development include (a) suicidology, (b) research methods, (c) academic career development and "survival skills", and (d) professional integrity and the ethical conduct of research. Throughout the training period each fellow works with a Mentor and Co-Mentor selected from the UR faculty on development and implementation of an individually tailored program of applied suicide prevention research. As well, fellows are supported in establishing ties with a rich network of off-site expert consultants who have histories of collaboration with the CSPS. A third year of mentored research training is available on a selective basis as needed to assure a fellow's success. An evaluation plan closely tracks the performance of each trainee and, over the longer term, of the program itself in preparing its graduates for careers in intervention research in general and suicide prevention studies in particular. In its first nine years the CSPS T32 has been successful in recruiting fellows who are from diverse cultural and academic backgrounds. Retention through the program and into careers in suicide prevention research has been excellent. Program innovations with this application include (a) plans to recruit one or more deaf trainees to develop studies of suicide in the deaf population, and (b) engagement of T32 fellows in the study of suicide among Veterans in collaboration with the recently established VA Center of Excellence on Suicide Prevention;(c) incorporation into the T32 curriculum of coursework and skill-building workshops offered by the UR Clinical &Translational Sciences Institute;and (d) addition of a practicum experience to the training in responsible conduct of research.
Relevance: Suicide is a major public health problem in the United States that poses unique challenges for study and prevention. Consequently, there is a shortage of clinical researchers with the necessary skills and knowledge to focus their work on this important area. The CSPS T32 addresses that need by providing a rich and diverse array of resources for training suicide researchers, both at the University of Rochester and through an extensive network of collaborators nationwide. It represents an important part of the "pipeline" of early career investigators in suicide studies.
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