The aim of our multidisciplinary program is to train post-doctoral biomedical, behavioral, health care and other public health scientists to conduct substance abuse intervention research. An overarching goal is to enhance the scientific reasoning skills needed to advance treatment research in drug abuse. From our perspective such research will benefit from interventions guided by sophisticated and fully-developed theory using a multidisciplinary framework that includes the biological, psychological, social and cultural context in which interventions occur. While other institutional training programs may address intervention research, this is the primary mission for this program. Distinctive features of our training program are: that it is interdisciplinary; that it embraces no single ideology or theory concerning the nature of dysfunctions related to drug abuse; that it provides training in early intervention and treatment along a continuum; and that it provides trainees with highly individualized opportunities to develop competitive grant applications and by doing so, contribute to the knowledge base of substance-related dysfunction and treatment. The training experience is structured to provide individualized research experience and training, complemented by a common academic curriculum to which 20% of fellows' training time is allocated. Four distinct areas are covered in the curriculum: (1) statistics/research methodology; (2) grantsmanship; (3) ethical issues in research; and (4) a two-year series of formal courses covering the etiology and treatment of substance abuse from varying disciplinary perspectives. We also subscribe to a research apprenticeship model under the guidance of the mentor. Each fellow's individual research training experience emerges from a plan developed by the fellow, agreed to by his/her mentors, and reviewed and approved by the Training Committee. The program has a primary emphasis on training in innovative treatment development and clinical trials research with a secondary emphasis on the translation of clinical research into services research. The recent addition of neurobiology and behavioral genetics didactic and research experiences expands our focus of translational research from basic to clinical research. The expected training program duration is two years but on occasion we extend this training period to three years. We offer 3rd years for fellows with less extensive training in research methods; fellows who are cross- training, e.g. training in Behavioral Genetics for a clinical psychologist; r for fellows in each cohort who need more time to accomplish their goals of becoming independent investigators. The program accepts on average two new fellows per year. At any given time there are likely to be four fellows in residence.
This training program is designed to address the significant and costly public health problem of substance abuse by training postdoctoral biomedical, biobehavioral, health care, and other public health scientists to conduct substance abuse intervention research. Our training program draws on many scientific disciplines, including biological sciences, epidemiology and etiology, prevention, clinical, and public health research, and emphasizes multidisciplinary approaches to achieving innovations in substance abuse research. Cutting-edge training of the next generation of addiction researchers has the potential to accelerate the pace of science in the field of substance abuse research.
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