The overarching objective of this interdisciplinary training program in the science of health development (ITSHD) is to prepare nurse scientists to understand how biology and social and environmental contexts intersect during childhood to influence life course health development and to use this knowledge to develop rigorous interdisciplinary programs of research to optimize health. The focus of this training program is on health development in children, broadly defined to include the period from conception through adolescence. The ITSHD is guided by a transformative framework based in the work of two prominent theory- based approaches: the Life Course Health Development (LCHDF) framework by Halfon and Hochstein, and the ecobiodevelopmental framework (EBDF) by Shonkoff and colleagues at Harvard's Healthy Child Center. This framework transforms how health development is conceptualized by its focus on life course health trajectories and integrates the health production models from individual and public health. The objectives of this interdisciplinary training program are to: i) Recruit and retain diverse and qualified trainees wit special emphasis on students in baccalaureate and second degree programs. ii) Prepare trainees to conduct rigorous research within the scientific area of health development during childhood (i.e., the period from conception through adolescence). iii) Prepare trainees to develop and implement ethical health research with children within interdisciplinary research teams. iv) Prepare trainees to successfully translate the science of health development into clinical practice and health policy interventions that will improve child health. Ten predoctoral students will be supported over the training period. The target is to admit half as post-masters students and half as second-degree or post-baccalaureate students. Post masters trainees will be supported for 2 years;post-baccalaureate and second degree trainees for 3 years. The proposed training plan builds on considerable strengths within the OSU College of Nursing that includes an exceptional track record in receipt of individual F31 awards, superb interdisciplinary relationships with researchers at Nationwide Children's Hospital, the OSU departments of pediatrics and sociology. Enrichment opportunities include established interdisciplinary seminar programs offered by research centers in the health sciences and national workshops addressing interventional research and translating research into practice hosted by the College of Nursing. Research training will be accomplished through the development and execution of individualized plans that include coursework, attendance at seminars, and the involvement in interdisciplinary funded research of program faculty.
Scientific advances over the past 20 years have revolutionized how health and disease are understood. Evidence from neuroscience, molecular biology, genomics, and the behavioral and social sciences have shown that while biological systems continue to develop and change across the life course the foundations laid down in childhood are critical to lifetime health. With this paradigm shift, the research community is challenged to stimulate new research, to develop creative solutions for improving health, and to translate research findings into social policy that will optimize health. The proposed training program will prepare nurse scientists to meet these challenges by using a transformative life course health development model that integrates the health production models from individual and public health. This program will prepare nurse scientists to understand how biology and social and environmental contexts intersect during childhood to influence life course health development and to use this knowledge to develop rigorous interdisciplinary programs of research to optimize health.