This application is for competitive renewal (Years 16 through 20) of an NIMH Institutional National Research Service Award (T32 MH20061) titled, Postdoctoral Training Program in Suicide Prevention Research. We seek support for six postdoctoral training slots. A component of the University of Rochester's (UR) Center for the Study of the Prevention Suicide (CSPS), the CSPS T32 has as its long-term objective to develop a cadre of early career scientists with the knowledge and experience necessary to establish careers as independent investigators and members of interdisciplinary teams dedicated to the study of suicide and its prevention. Training emphasizes suicide prevention research consistent with Objectives 3 (Strive for Prevention and Cures) and 4 (Strengthen the Public Health Impact) of the recently revised NIMH Strategic Plan. Fellows in eligible disciplines relevant to the study of suicide and its prevention undergo a two-year training sequence guided by an academic development plan designed by each fellow and her/his mentor at the outset of training. The curriculum includes a coordinated series of courses, seminars, and workshops designed to provide the fellow with a firm foundation in the theories and methods of suicide prevention research. Core areas of knowledge and skill development include (a) suicidology, (b) research methods, (c) academic career development and survival skills, and (d) professional integrity and the ethical conduct of research. Each fellow works with a Mentor and Co-Mentor selected from the UR faculty on development and implementation of an individually tailored program of applied suicide prevention research. As well, fellows establish ties with a rich network of off-site expert consultants with histories of collaboration with the CSPS. A third year of mentored research training is available on a selective basis. An evaluation plan closely tracks the performance of each trainee and, over the longer term, of the program itself in preparing its graduates for careers in intervention, outcomes, and health services research in general and suicide prevention studies in particular. The CSPS T32 has been successful in recruiting fellows who are from diverse cultural and academic backgrounds. Retention through the program and into careers in suicide prevention research has been excellent. Program innovations with this application include (a) incorporation into the T32 curriculum of coursework and skill-building workshops that address application of information technologies to suicide prevention research and NIMH priorities of data harmonization and data sharing; and (b) integration of the program with CSPS global health initiatives on suicide prevention research; and (c) linkage with (i) the University's recently established Institute for Data Science, (ii) Schyve Center for Bioethics, and (iii) National Center for Deaf Health Research.
Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the U.S., second among youth, and rates are rising. This postdoctoral fellowship provides scientists with the knowledge and skills to design and conduct research with the goal of reducing suicide-related morbidity and mortality across the life course.
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