This application proposes to establish an innovative, multi-disciplinary postdoctoral research training program focused on digital mental health) and technology across Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine, School of Communication, and McCormick School of Engineering. The long-term goal of this program is to develop the field of digital mental health by providing the first NIMH-supported postdoctoral training program that integrates mental health (psychology, psychiatry, and behavioral science) and human- computer interaction (HCI; computer science, communication, engineering, design, and human factors) aimed at producing successful, independent investigators who will become leaders in this emerging field. Digital mental health as a field has not lived up to its potential to deliver mental health care cost-effectively to large numbers of people. Part of this failure is due to the largely siloed approach to research and training. This program will recruit a mix of fellows in clinical research and HCI. Fellows will develop core competencies in digital mental health, team science, research ethics, leadership, as well as other topics as needed such as implementation science or computer science. Fellows will also develop a working understanding of the methods and principles in the domain that the fellow is learning (e.g. behavioral science for HCI Fellows, HCI design methods for mental health specialists). Each trainee will be co-mentored by a faculty member who specializes in clinical mental health research and one specializing in HCI. At least 75% of the fellow's time will be spent in mentored research. These research experiences will be complemented by a weekly seminar, professional development activities, problem based learning, and workshops and other didactic experiences to cover basic knowledge. Fellows will also have access to the rich educational resources made available by Northwestern, including training in grant writing workshops, paper writing seminars, team science training, and other resources dedicated to career development. Our participating faculty mentors and advisors are leaders in their respective fields and come from 9 departments across 3 schools. We will admit 3 fellows each year for a two year fellowship. This program will be the first in the nation to jointly train mental health and technology specialists, and will serve as a model for the emerging field of digital mental health.
This proposal will establish the first multidisciplinary postdoctoral training program in digital mental health (the use of technologies such as the web and mobile phones to support the treatment of mental health conditions). The program will admit roughly equivalent numbers of fellows with backgrounds in clinical mental health research or human computer interaction. Mentorship and training will emphasize learning experiences from both domains, team science, and career development.