The overall objective of this application is to continue and to strengthen an existing MHIRT program that has successfully contributed to the development of a cadre of young investigators to address disparities in mental health care for U.S. Latinos with serious mental illness. To accomplish this objective, we seek: (a) to recruit the very best young researchers from groups underrepresented in biomedical, behavioral, clinical and social sciences, particularly Latinos; (b) to help the trainees develop the research and professional skills to reduce and eliminate disparities in the mental health care for Latinos; and (c) to increase the number of persons from underrepresented groups, especially Latinos, who receive research oriented doctoral degrees. The doctoral programs within USC's Clinical Psychology Program, USC's School of Social Work, and UCLA's Clinical Psychology Program will serve as the home institutions. Most participating faculty (Mentors and Advisory Committee Members) are from these departments/schools. The applicant pool will be drawn from throughout our nation's universities and colleges as reflected in our applicant pool over the last 4 years in which 353 persons applied. A total of 7 undergraduate trainees and 2 graduate trainees will be recruited each year. The School of Medicine at the Benemerita Universidad Autonoma de Puebla, in Mexico will serve as the primary foreign home institution for 7 trainees each year. El Instituto Nacional de Psiquiatria will serve as a secondary site with 2 trainees each year. The training is organized to reflect the 3 general domains of determinants of health disparities as defined by the 2002 Institute of Medicine Report Unequal Treatment (individual factors, health systems, and provider discrimination) and to reflect the 3 significant pathways to mental health care (illness onset, social networks [e.g., families], and provision of services). Trainees will first receive an intensive 1-week seminar at USC in the study of disparities in Latino mental health care delivered by a multidisciplinary group of faculty from both USC and UCLA. Following the first week, trainees will then travel to Puebla or Mexico City to complete a 10-week program during which they will immerse themselves in the parent projects pertaining to the 3 main pathways to care.
The training program will develop researchers to address disparities in mental health care for Latinos, specifically their limited use of mental health services and poor quality of mental health care. In addition, the program will increase the number of Latino investigators with the necessary research and professional skills to eliminate such disparities.
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