The primary objective of this program is to train predoctoral and postdoctoral research scientists in integrated biobehavioral and sociocultural approaches to the study of mental health and disorder, and comorbidities of mental and physical health. The program trains scholars in development and application of theories and research in behavioral science, integrated with biological and social science, to understand the etiology, progression and treatment of mental disorders and physical disease. The primary program consists of didactic training, intensive supervised research, and a weekly colloquia series. The three pillars of the program are: (1) A coordinated curriculum on biological systems involved in psychopathology and health; (2) Training in state-of-the-art research methods and quantitative techniques; (3) An emphasis on health disparities by ethnicity, race, culture, SES, and gender. Two postdoctoral and three predoctoral trainees who are in 2nd through 4th year of studies, take a set of required courses and select from electives and research opportunities to create individualized, focused programs of training. Two Co-Directors together with 7 Core faculty, and 20 affiliated faculty members from the Department of Psychology, the Geffen School of Medicine, and other units on campus provide the training. This interdisciplinary faculty is composed of a seasoned senior faculty group who have a history of collaborating in research and training, and selected exceptional midcareer and junior faculty members, all of whom bring a rich array of funded projects, active research labs, interdisciplinary center involvement, and methodological expertise to the program to provide rigorous training in research. The faculty as a whole represents research expertise in specific psychological disorders (depressive disorders, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia) and physical health (birth outcomes, cancer, cardiovascular disease). Theory and research on both pathological processes and optimal health and well-being are represented. Cross-cutting content areas include stress processes, emotion regulation/coping, social relationships, and health disparities. Finally, core faculty are expert i the development and evaluation of biobehavioral approaches to preventing and treating psychological and physical health problems, as well as in dissemination and implementation science. The program offers advanced quantitative training and mentored research training in translational science including randomized controlled intervention trials, observational/survey research methods, experimental research, and methods of studying immune, neuroendocrine, cardiovascular, neural and genetic processes. Clinical populations studied include those with major depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, cancer, and other chronic diseases. Faculty research projects involve all stages of the lifespan from prenatal/fetal influences through childhood and adolescence to aging.
Integrative multidisciplinary science training is much needed to understand the complex biological processes and their interrelationship to behavioral and sociocultural factors in order to address the complex problems of mental disorders and health disparities in the population. The proposed training will produce a cohort of scientists for the next generation of cutting-edge research.
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