Major modern health problems can rarely be solved exclusively through clinical interventions or medical advances. Social, economic, and policy contexts also shape human health and development in profound ways, requiring an integrative approach to studying the multiple layers of influence on population health over multiple time scales: a ?cells-to-society? approach. A recent National Academy of Sciences report concluded that achieving transformational research in population health science will require a novel, truly interdisciplinary approach to training the next generation of scientists. Unfortunately, several barriers now impede such training. University disciplinary structures silo researchers. Training programs typically prioritize research on etiology over investigations of effective solutions. Most new scientists are trained only in the biological, social, or health care system influences on disease; few are trained to integrate all three. Objectives: We propose a program of pre- doctoral and post-doctoral training in population health science at the University of Minnesota that will produce scientists who understand complex health problems and health disparities as resulting from multiple and interacting layers of influence and that unfold over chronological, biological, and historical time. Design: The proposed program features cross-training in the biology and etiology of disease and the social sciences and includes required coursework on population health science, population modeling, and the responsible conduct of research; independent and collaborative research supervised by interdisciplinary teams of faculty; and intensive professional socialization designed to integrate trainees from diverse disciplinary backgrounds and prepare them to have outstanding careers as population health scientists. Appointments: We request five pre- doctoral (three-year) and two post-doctoral (two-year) training slots. Outcomes: Our goal is to cultivate the next generation of health scientists for careers spent integrating knowledge, theory, and tools from multiple disciplines to conduct cutting edge research and to produce novel solutions to the nation?s most pressing public health issues. Leadership: The program is co-led by population health scholars Dr. John Robert Warren (Sociology) and Dr. Theresa Osypuk (Epidemiology & Community Health). Together with an Executive Committee of nationally-recognized population health scientists and an outstanding team of 44 faculty mentors from four colleges and seven disciplinary departments, they will oversee a training program that blends coursework from the biological, health, and social sciences and features integrative, ground breaking population health research and purposeful professionalization. The training program will be stewarded by the Minnesota Population Center, a vibrant trans-disciplinary intellectual space prioritizing population health research and featuring a diverse faculty with well-funded research projects and an impressive track record of training population health scholars.

Public Health Relevance

Major modern health problems can rarely be solved through clinical interventions or medical advances alone. Social, economic, and policy contexts also shape population health in profound ways, requiring an integrative approach to studying multiple layers of influence on population health over multiple time scales: a ?cells-to- society? approach. We propose a pre- and post-doctoral training program that rigorously integrates knowledge, theories, and methods from disciplines across public health, public policy, medicine, and the social sciences to train the next generation of population health scientists to tackle and solve seemingly intractable public health problems.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD)
Institutional National Research Service Award (T32)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZHD1)
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Bures, Regina M
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University of Minnesota Twin Cities
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
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