This is a proposal for the competing continuation of the University of Pittsburgh Training Program in the Epidemiology of Aging. The field of the Epidemiology of Aging is a critical priority for public health. Now more than ever, we need to be providing advanced training in epidemiology and increase the cadre of experts in the study of risk factors for and prevention of disability. A critical training need is to develop epidemiologists who can effectively integrate knowledge and skills from multiple disciplines from basic science to clinical functional assessment into epidemiologic studies in a rapidly evolving research environment.
We aim to develop such research scientists who are specialized in the field of the Epidemiology of Aging by providing mentored research with well-funded senior leaders in the field, formal coursework and group and individual instruction that emphasize: 1) A strong foundation in traditional epidemiologic methods and quantitative skills with emphasis on longitudinal and survival analysis, evaluation of heterogeneity and confounding by comorbidity and polypharmacy, assessment of functional health outcomes, and clinical trial methodology in older populations. 2) A strong biologic basis for the study of problems of older adults and potential targets for prevention. 3) The professional skills required for a career as an independent investigator, including developing new methodology, project management skills, as well as teaching and mentoring skills, and presenting research findings at national and international meetings, writing and publishing findings, writing grant proposals. 4) A multidisciplinary and collaborative approach that develops the ability to integrate science across disciplines so as to develop cutting-edge approaches. 5) The potential for prevention of disease and of disability in multiple domains including physical, cognitive, psychological and social function as well as the promotion of active life expectancy. The training program includes 2 pre-doctoral and 2 post-doctoral positions in epidemiology. Predoctoral trainees will be supported for 3-5 years to obtain a PhD or DrPH in epidemiology. Candidates will have a prior degree in medicine, nursing, exercise science, nutrition, public health or a related degree. Post-doctoral fellows will have a prior PhD in epidemiology or come with a degree in a health-related field such as medicine, nursing, genetics, and obtain a masters degree in public health. The extensive research program encompasses epidemiologic cohort studies and prevention clinical trials in osteoporosis, sarcopenia, cardiovascular aging, longevity cancer and aging, sleep disorders, cognitive decline and disability prevention.
As the number of adults reaching old age continues to increase, this program addresses a critical need train individuals with relevant scientific backgrounds in epidemiologic approaches to important public health problems engendered by our aging society. This training program will support 2 pre-doctoral trainees to obtain a PhD or DrPH degree and 2 post-doctoral fellows to develop specific expertise in Epidemiology of Aging.
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