In response to RFA-DK-028 Career Development Programs in Diabetes Research for Behavioral Scientists (K12) and given that currently there is a documented lack of senior behavioral scientists in type 1 diabetes (T1D) research to mentor younger investigators, combined with the unparalleled faculty, research, and patient resources in Pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine (BCM), we enthusiastically submit this proposal for Mentoring Behavioral Scientists for Career Development in Pediatric Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) Research at BCM. The purpose of this career development program is to create an interdisciplinary and evidence-based program for postdoctoral and early-career behavioral investigators [Scholars]. We propose an initial program for 3 Scholars (two postdoctoral level and one early career level) who will receive a 2-to 3-year comprehensive, didactic mentored career development experience in T1D behavioral research. The program is built around three objectives: 1) Scholars must understand the 'lived experience' of T1D for youth and families to foster clinically-informed behavioral research; 2) Scholars will understand the neuro-biology of T1D, the close interplay between blood glucose fluctuations and behavior, and how neurocognitive risk and resilience factors impact behavior, executive functioning, and adherence; and 3) Scholars will demonstrate basic grant writing skills. The program requires mastery of core didactics in neuro-biology of T1D and theories/methods of health behavior change. Depending on Scholars' prior training, mapped on to the didactics are opportunities for advanced courses at outstanding academic institutions nearby--the University of Texas School of Public Health and the University of Houston. Scholars will be mentored by a team of senior behavioral scientist and senior pediatric endocrinologist in 1 of 3 research pathways: 1) neuropsychology and risk-factor screening; 2) family- and systems-based interventions to optimize glycemic control, adherence and quality of life outcomes with a focus on transition-age youth with T1D; and 3) interactive technology-based interventions to improve adherence and glycemic control. An Advisory Committee of Senior Baylor faculty will evaluate the program and monitor the progress of the individual Scholars against established benchmarks. An External Advisory Board of senior scientists will also provide feedback. Our long-term goal is to create a nationally-recognized program that produces scientists with successful and funded careers in T1D behavioral research, who will eventually be well-positioned to carry on this legacy of mentoring in behavioral diabetes research.
There is a critical workforce shortage of younger scientists committed to behavioral research in type 1 diabetes (T1D). Behavior change is the foundation of T1D treatment, which demands daily and complex self- management as the best investment for preventing the devastating long-term complications of T1D. To meet this workforce shortage, we propose at Baylor College of Medicine a rigorous career development program of required didactic courses and interdisciplinary research mentoring of Scholars in one of three pathways in T1D diabetes behavioral research: Neurobiology of T1D; Family- and systems-based interventions; and Interactive technology-based interventions.
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