This innovative training program is designed to expand the pipeline for new researchers in geriatric mental health by providing mentored research opportunities to undergraduate, graduate, and medical students. The Summer Training on Aging Research Topics-Mental Health (START-MH) Program is intended to increase the number and diversity of talented individuals in the """"""""pipeline"""""""" of developing investigators in the field of geriatric mental health by increasing trainees' knowledge of what research involves and fostering mentoring relationships between trainees and established investigators. The START-MH Program was piloted in 2003. A number of mechanisms for recruiting applicants to the program were employed including the development of brochures and a program website ( 85 student applications and 38 mentor applications were solicited in less than six weeks. 30 trainees (13 undergraduate students, 13 graduate students, and 4 medical students) from across the country were selected to participate. 34 mentors were also selected. Each trainee spent 10 weeks in the research lab of an established investigator in geriatric mental health. Each trainee conducted a research project under the supervision of his/her mentor. The trainees also attended a two-day START-MH Conference and presented a poster based on their summer research project. Most of the research projects are now being written up as abstracts and/or manuscripts. 100% of the trainees in the pilot program reported that the START-MH program positively affected their attitude towards a career in the field of geriatric mental health research. 93% reported they were highly likely or likely to pursue a career in geriatric mental health research. The mentors uniformly rated the program and the trainees as excellent. It is notable that all mentors in this program donated their time thus illustrating the importance of career development to leaders in the field of geriatric mental health. The START-MH Program has a number of strengths. It addresses a clear and urgent need for increasing the pipeline of new researchers in geriatric mental health. The PI and the program staff have a long track record of success in research training in geriatric mental health. There is a sense of citizenship among geriatric mental health researchers - they are collectively devoted to career development in the field. The START-MH Program, though administered through UCSD, is a multi-site national program. The trainees, as well as the mentors, are competitively selected by a committee comprised of established investigators and training directors. The focus of the curriculum is on individual mentoring. Lastly, we have specific plans for follow-up of the trainees and for the evaluation of the Program.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Education Projects (R25)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZMH1-NRB-E (01))
Program Officer
Chavez, Mark
Project Start
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Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
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Indirect Cost
University of California San Diego
Schools of Medicine
La Jolla
United States
Zip Code
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