As detailed in a recent Institute of Medicine (IOM) report, chronic pain represents a major public health concern, affecting 100 million U.S. adults and costing more than $500 billion annually. Aging confers increased risk for chronic pain, with half of older adults reporting persistent or recurring pain, and aging is associated with greater pain-related loss of physical and psychosocial function. Current knowledge regarding pain and aging is surprisingly limited, and future progress in the field hinges on the availability of well-trained scientists who have an appreciation for preclinical and clinical research approaches to the study of both aging and pain. At present, there are no existing NIH-funded T32 programs devoted to training in pain and aging. To address this unmet need, we propose to develop a new postdoctoral training program: the Integrative and Multidisciplinary Pain and Aging Research Training (IMPART) Program. The overall goal of the IMPART program is to develop outstanding independent investigators capable of sustaining productive clinical and translational research careers addressing the biopsychosocial mechanisms underlying age-related changes in the experience of pain and/or designing clinical interventions to ameliorate acute and chronic pain among older adults. In order to accomplish this overarching goal, the specific aims of this new postdoctoral training program in pain and aging research are to: 1) Recruit and train promising junior investigators to conduct mechanistically-based and clinically relevant translational research in pain and aging; 2) Implement an integrated didactic and experiential training program, which will equip trainees with new research skills and the knowledge and expertise to apply these skills to address important and unanswered questions regarding pain and aging; and 3) Create a culture of research excellence in order to ensure that trainees aspire to the high standards of scientific integrity and quality, which will set the tone for their future careers in pain and aging research. IMPART leverages two excellent and collaborative research programs at the University of Florida - the aging research community represented by the Institute on Aging (IOA), and the pain research community, organized under the Pain Research and Intervention Center of Excellence (PRICE). Each member of the training faculty boasts an excellent track record of both research funding and mentoring experience. The proposed program requests support for four postdoctoral trainees from a variety of training backgrounds, each of whom will work with their multidisciplinary mentoring team to create and implement a tailored independent development plan as the blueprint for their training. Trainees will achieve their research and career development objectives through a combination of didactic, research, and professional development activities, and program evaluation will be ongoing and multimodal. The IMPART Program is committed to promoting diversity among our trainees, and the program will provide a training experience that emphasizes excellence in research integrity and ethics.
Chronic pain represents a major public health problem, which disproportionately affects older adults. An improved understanding of the neurobiological and psychosocial mechanisms underlying age-related changes in pain is critical in order to inform interventions aimed at reducing pain in the elderly. At present, there is a deficit of scientists trained to conduct clinical and translational research investigating pain and aging. In order to address this gap, we propose to develop an Integrative and Multidisciplinary Pain and Aging Research Training (IMPART) postdoctoral training program. The long-term outcome of this initiative will be to create the next generation of pain and aging scientists who will move the fied forward through cutting edge research designed to elucidate and ameliorate adverse age-related changes in the experience of pain.
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