This is a renewal application from the University of California, San Francisco to extend a five-year research education program for clinical researchers (Learning for Early Careers in Addiction and Diversity-LEAD). The program continues its mission to provide training to early-stage research scientists from underrepresented racial/ethnic minority groups, aiming to increase the number of racial/ethnic minorities who conduct behavioral or pharmacological substance use disorders treatment research. LEAD builds on the platform of the National Drug Abuse Treatment Clinical Trials Network (CTN), a network of scientists and healthcare organizations that offers a broad infrastructure for multisite testing of science-based therapies. During the next five years, we will expand recruitment to include postdoctoral fellows (rather than just assistant professor level participants) in an effort to reach a larger pool of promising early stage investigators. The training program will include a new component in implementation science training to align and strengthen scholars' research skills with the priorities of the NIDA CTN to conduct rigorous multisite clinical trials in primary care and other general medical settings. The training program greatly benefits from strong connections to training programs and faculty conducting clinical research at UCSF and the presence of the UCSF Clinical and Translational Science Institute.
Specific aims are to: 1) Match trainee scholars with senior scientists in the CTN who will provide scientific mentoring and professional guidance; 2) provide scholars with support to conduct pilot research as a pathway to subsequent NIH applications; 3) assist scholars in developing grant-writing skills, with the goal of submitting competitive NIH applications during the LEAD training period; 4) offer training in cultural tailoring of evidence-based treatments and implementation research methods; 5) provide scholars with knowledge and skills to address ethical, regulatory, and project management issues encountered in clinical trials; and 6) foster a networking structure to build relationships with leading experts in substance use disorder clinical trials research. Scholars will participate in a 3-year training, consisting of a yearly 4-week summer intensive program of seminars and workshops at UCSF, mentoring and training during the academic year, and participation in CTN national research and training meetings. Scholars will be matched with NIDA CTN senior investigators who will mentor them through the 3-year training period. A successful NIH award for research or career development is the planned measurable outcome for the scholars who participate in the program. The program addresses the need for investigators who have expertise in conducting culturally-competent substance use disorder treatment research that has the potential to impact healthcare policy and practice. The long-term goal to increase the number of PIs from underrepresented racial/ethnic minority groups conducting substance use disorder treatment research.
While the U.S. population becomes more racially/ethnically diverse, underrepresentation of African Americans, Latinos, and American Indian/Alaska Natives among NIH-funded investigators persists. To address this important leadership gap, the proposed program provides training to early-stage research scientists from underrepresented groups or disadvantaged backgrounds, aiming to increase the number of racial/ethnic minority scientists leading culturally relevant behavioral or pharmacological substance use treatment research. The goal is to produce multidisciplinary research leaders and strengthen the research and training network of the NIH, NIDA, and its partnering organizations.
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