The aging of the United States population is highlighted by the need for increased research on diseases and disabilities that affect older persons. The objective of this program is to train pre- and post-doctoral students to conduct independent and original research in the epidemiology of aging, with an emphasis on the prevention of late life disability and functional decline. The program emphasizes four broad substantive areas in which program faculty have gerontologic research experience and are conducting ongoing projects: musculoskeletal epidemiology;neuroepidemiology;genetic epidemiology;and the pharmacoepidemiology. The training program is designed to enable trainees to: 1) contribute to a research team under the supervision of a primary mentor expert in the epidemiology of aging and a secondary mentor expert in epidemiology methods and/or biostatistics;2) develop a research question, articulate study hypotheses, and design and perform an epidemiologic study to address these hypotheses;3) become expert in at least one substantive area relevant to the prevention of disability and functional decline in the elderly;4) demonstrate the capacity to conduct independent, original research;5) have experience in the presentation of research results;6) have mastered a core curriculum in epidemiology and biostatistics;7) be knowledgeable about the basic biological and psychosocial processes of aging;8) master the principles of responsible conduct of research;and 9) be prepared for the transition to a career in the epidemiology of aging. The program is located within the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health (EPH) of the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Major strengths of the training program include: 1) the availability of experienced mentors in substantive areas of aging research, as well as epidemiology and biostatistics;2) many interdisciplinary training and research opportunities in aging and related areas;and 3) graduate training opportunities through the Doctoral Programs in Epidemiology and Human Genetics, Gerontology, Physical Rehabilitation Science, and Pharmaceutical Health Services Research. The program director is recognized for his leadership nationally and within the UM System;as such, he is in an excellent position to foster the development of trainees through participation in interdisciplinary research programs locally and nationally.
The increasing life span is leading to greater numbers of older persons in the population. This training program is designed to prepare outstanding scientists to pursue topics that are relevant for understanding the health and functional status of an aging population, and preventing the functional declines and disabilities that often accompany becoming older.
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