Advances in neuroscience, genetics, and the understanding of the biology of behavior have provided an opportunity to make profound advancements in understanding and treating mental illnesses. In order to take advantage of these advances, the next generation of researchers in psychiatry will need focused training that integrates translational research with clinical/behavioral training. While there is concern in the field of profound shortage of physician-scientists being trained (Yager et al., 2004; Fenton et al. 2004; Psychiatry's Identity Crisis 2012), there is also reason for optimism, in that the number of MD/PhD medical school graduates applying for psychiatric residencies has increased. Federal research monies have increased substantially to psychiatry departments over the last few decades, and yet, the percentage of psychiatrists with adequate research training, dedicated research time, and leadership roles (e.g., Principal Investigator) on funded grants lags well behind other areas of medicine (Kupfer et al., 2002). In order to address these needs, we are requesting support for the development of a translational clinical research training program. The Translational Research Activities In Clinical Neuroscience (TRAIN) program is designed to provide exceptional training and mentoring to psychiatry residents with the express goal of generating clinical and translational researchers in psychiatry who will go on to become independent physician-scientists. This program will focus on the relationship between disruptions in underlying genetics and neurobiology and how they relate to adaptive behavior, as in the NIMH Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) framework. This program will provide psychiatry residents training and mentorship from nationally recognized translational researchers in psychiatry. The program includes faculty mentors at UT Southwestern with active research programs, as well as meetings and instruction by nationally recognized researchers at other institutions. The program is also designed to reach out to students in training to recruit th best minds to become clinical researchers.
Advances in the fields of neuroscience, genetics, and other biological fields are leading to profound transformations in our understanding of mental health. In order to translate this understanding into new treatments, a new approach needs to be taken in the training of clinical researchers. Consistent with the Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) initiative, this program is designed to train translational clinical researchers who can understand the underlying biology of mental health disorders, as well as the interaction with adaptive behavior and treatment options. Specifically, this grant is designed to provide training to psychiatric residents by some of the leading mental health researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center.
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