For more than two decades, the declining number of clinical scientists who pursue mental health research, coupled with a high rate of attrition among those who do enter the field have been threatening our nation's ability to leverage advances in basic biomedical and behavioral sciences into improvements in public health.
The specific aim of this R25 application for a Research Career Development Institute for Psychiatry is to provide the necessary skill set, support, and mentoring network to a nationally- selected, broad-based group of promising young psychiatrists and PhD researchers to help them launch and maintain successful research careers in academic psychiatry. The program is geared toward individuals at the critical transition point between the completion of research training and their initial facuty appointment or very early in the initial appointment. The proposed program will help fill this training gap by providing the necessary skill set and guidance in a multi-tiered longitudinal training experience, including a comprehensive program of career and skills self-assessment, individualized career goal setting, a four-day workshop, structured long- distance career mentoring and goal tracking, webinars and tutorials, and a multi-tiered program evaluation. Targeted career skills identified as critical to beginning and maintaining a successful career in research psychiatry will include: writing, effective negotiation skills, time management, giving and receiving mentoring, responsible conduct of research, scientific project management, and enhancing statistical knowledge. Quality of the mentoring offered will be enhanced by in-person training and webinars for mentors. Career development activities will occur in four phases over a 24-month period for each annual class of up to 18 participants: online baseline career and skills self-assessment, didactic learning and preparations for four-day in-person workshop and goal setting, long-distance structured mentoring and online continued learning, and post-program career progress and process evaluation. The CDI program website will be the portal through which career goals and progress are measured and monitored, coaching and mentoring sessions take place, and virtual meetings are held throughout the 24- month training period. Consistent with the benefits of multilevel mentoring, a number of previous CDI participants will be asked to serve as junior faculty, providing two-fold added value: 1), participants will interact with colleagues who are just a few years ahead in their research career trajectory and have had similar career concerns and experiences, and 2) junior faculty members will receive an early career opportunity to provide mentoring to others and to participate at a faculty/teacher level. The proposed longitudinal program of education, training, mentoring, peer support, and communication for individuals making the transition to academic research independence will increase the number of scientists committed to research careers in mental health and provide a foundation for the field's progress toward preventing and treating mental illness.

Public Health Relevance

The number of physician scientists experienced in mental health research in this country is declining, yet the number of people experiencing mental illness is on the rise. The Career Development Institute for Psychiatry proposes a longitudinal program of education, training, mentoring, peer support, and communications to support these individuals in carrying out their research career paths and to increase the number of scientists committed to research careers in mental health.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Education Projects (R25)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZMH1-ERB-I (02))
Program Officer
Chavez, Mark
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University of Pittsburgh
Schools of Medicine
United States
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Kupfer, David J; Schatzberg, Alan F; Dunn, Leslie O et al. (2016) Career Development Institute with Enhanced Mentoring: A Revisit. Acad Psychiatry 40:424-8