The science underlying symptom etiology, the symptom experience, and symptom management has advanced substantially over the last few decades. Yet little is known about the biobehavioral underpinnings of many symptoms or the ways in which biological and behavioral factors interact during the symptom experience. Even less is known about symptom management strategies that can effectively target both biological and behavioral components of the symptom response. In addition, symptoms occur within a context of very influential social factors. There is an urgent need to identify social determinants of symptom presentation and management that may contribute to unique biobehavioral phenotypes and underlie many health disparities. The purpose of this training program is to prepare 5 predoctoral nursing students and 3 postdoctoral nurse trainees to conduct biobehavioral research in symptom science. Upon completion of the program, trainees will have the knowledge and skills necessary to: 1) design and conduct biobehavioral research on symptoms and health-related outcomes, 2) employ multi-method, biobehavioral approaches to the measurement of symptoms and the testing of symptom management strategies, 3) examine the mediating and/or moderating roles of social determinants in symptom presentation and symptom management, 4) develop and implement programs of symptom research with ethnically and socio- economically diverse populations across the illness trajectory, and 4) translate research findings into recommendations for symptom prevention, assessment and management. The predoctoral curriculum includes standard PhD requirements at UCSF School of Nursing, 4 symptom-specific courses (theories & methods of symptom science, biobehavioral methods for studying symptoms, genomics and other omics, and social determinants), and a research residency. Postdoctoral trainees will participate in the 4 symptom- specific courses and engage in other salient electives to advance biobehavioral research objectives that are defined in an individualized program plan. They will also have a research residency tailored to more advanced research aims and grantsmanship goals. The interdisciplinary faculty group has significant expertise in symptom science, the integration of biologic and behavioral research methodologies, and social determinants of health. The group includes 16 faculty in the School of Nursing and 9 affiliated faculty from other Schools at UCSF. Preparing nurse scholars to advance symptom science through rigorous research training in biobehavioral research is essential for improved understanding of the symptom experience and better management of symptoms by patients and clinicians. The UCSF School of Nursing is in a unique position to provide interdisciplinary training in clinical and translational research because of its strong research programs, its history of successful research training, and its ongoing collaboration with other Departments and Centers at UCSF that are involved in symptom-related science.
The purpose of this proposed program is to provide funding for 5 predoctoral and 3 postdoctoral nurse trainees who will be prepared to conduct biobehavioral research in symptom science, while considering social factors that may influence the nature of symptoms and their management. A group of 25 interdisciplinary faculty will provide the didactic coursework, research residencies, and mentorship to achieve program objectives. This training program for nurse scholars has the potential to advance knowledge that will improve the assessment and management of illness-related symptoms for ethnically and socioeconomically diverse individuals of all ages.
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