Infections remain a major cause of morbidity and mortality despite decades of advances in diagnosis, therapeutics and delivery of health care. Many of the traditional treatments for common infections are no longer effective because of the emergence of new infections (e.g. SARS, norovirus) and the fast-growing problem of antimicrobial resistance. Although the prevention of many community and healthcare-associated infections is theoretically within our reach, progress is often slow because of the multi-factorial nature of the problem. The origins of this widespread problem of infection stem from issues in such diverse areas as microbial genetics, health care policy, economics, and human behavior. This level of complexity mandates a new generation of scholars ready to begin their careers from an interdisciplinary perspective. Therefore, through this program, Training in Interdisciplinary Research to Prevent Infections (TIRI), we propose to prepare pre- and post-doctoral scholars for participation and leadership in interdisciplinary research to prevent infections. Building on a highly productive T90, the aims of TIRI are to (a) expand an interdisciplinary research curriculum, (b) recruit and train a qualified diverse cadre of interdisciplinary pre-doctoral and post-doctoral fellows to conduct research focused on the prevention of infections across the continuum of care, (c) expand and assess collaborative research activities between nursing faculty and trainees and those from other disciplines, and (d) evaluate the training program structures, processes, and outcomes on an ongoing and annual basis. Based on preliminary work to define competencies essential to successful interdisciplinary research, the training program includes three key activities for trainees: 1) a didactic course, "Building Interdisciplinary Research Models", 2) an Interdisciplinary Research Seminar, and 3) Supervised Field Experience. Each programmatic element will be coordinated by an interdisciplinary Faculty Leadership Team, and each trainee will be mentored by an interdisciplinary team of senior researchers. We will support 2 predoctoral and 2 postdoctoral trainees for 2 years each. Predoctoral trainees will be selected from among students who have successfully completed one year of doctoral education in any school or department. Recruitment strategies for both include our well-established Center website and, because of our particular commitment to assuring a diverse cadre of trainees, we have collaborative recruitment plans with established outreach programs, as well as the City University of New York and Hunter-Bellevue School of Nursing, both of which have a high proportion of Hispanic and African-American graduate students. The training program will be evaluated at several levels, including individual courses, dissertations, post-doctoral field projects, and career trajectory of trainees. These evaluations will be a focal point of discussion within the Faculty Leadership Team, and suitable program modifications will be implemented by the Leadership Team.
Infections remain a major cause of morbidity and mortality despite decades of advances in diagnosis, therapeutics and delivery of health care. Although the prevention of many community and healthcare- associated infections is theoretically within our reach, progress is often slow because of the multi-factorial nature of the problem and a failure to integrate knowledge across fields such as epidemiology, genetics, and behavioral science. This training program will prepare a cadre of highly productive interdisciplinary scientists to discover and translate new infection prevention strategies.
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