This is an application for a 5-year renewal of the T32 Fellowship Program in Geriatric Mental Health at the University of California San Diego (UCSD). As the population ages, the demand for independent investigators in geriatric mental health will continue to increase. Over the last 15 years, we have trained 71 T32 trainees including 40 postdoctoral Fellows, 14 predoctoral Fellows, and 17 medical and pharmacy students. This T32 program, continuously funded since 1994, is part of a larger research training program within UCSD?s Division of Geriatric Psychiatry. It is also affiliated with the UCSD Center for Healthy Aging, Sam and Rose Stein Institute for Research on Aging, and UCSD?s Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA). Over the past 5 years, 68% of our predoctoral and postdoctoral trainees have been women, 37% have been people of color, and 16% have been from Under-Represented Minority (URM) ethnic groups. All have completed at least two years of Fellowship training or are still in training, and all are continuing in full-time academic activities. All trainees with at least one year in the program have published multiple peer-reviewed papers. Our postdoctoral trainees have obtained 5 K awards or VA Career Development Awards in the past 5 years, and previous Fellows have obtained funding from NIH, VA, Department of Defense, as well as support from various foundations. We place major emphasis on career development, both for mentees and mentors. The Fellowship program includes individual mentoring along with experiential training in team science, complemented by didactic activities. A personalized Individual Development Plan (IDP) is created with each trainee early in the course of the Fellowship. Writing and statistical skills enhancement, guidance on balancing personal and professional obligations, and exposure to cross-disciplinary co-mentors and collaborators characterize our program. This renewal application proposes to support 5 postdoctoral Fellows (optimally, a combination of PhDs, MDs/MD-PhDs, and PharmDs), 2 predoctoral students (in clinical psychology or neuroscience), and 2 summer research slots for pharmacy students annually. Over the next 5 years, we will increase our focus on technology and engineering in aging and mental health, including mobile health and data science technologies to improve assessment, treatment, and service delivery for older adults with psychiatric illnesses. We will also continue to emphasize translational and basic neuroscience, positive psychiatry, physician and pharmacist scientists, diversity of trainees, and research on training. We have developed a strong plan for evaluation of the training process including short-term, intermediate-term, and long-term outcomes, including research productivity for Fellows and professional advancement for mentors.
This T32 training program will facilitate the development of a diverse and highly trained workforce that will ultimately assume leadership roles related to the nation's biomedical and behavioral research agenda. More specifically, the program will train researchers with expertise in geriatric mental health to help meet the needs of our rapidly aging society.
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