“Research Training for Child Psychiatry and Neurodevelopment” led by SDRC affiliated member Dr. Allan Reiss is a postdoctoral training program to promote innovative, interdisciplinary research at the forefront of child psychiatry and neurodevelopment.
Our progress in the current grant period has been exceptional and we have met or exceeded nearly every goal established for the current cycle. The program has attracted a very large pool of first-rate applicants (n=101), filled all funded slots (four per year, total o 11 fellows through June 2016), retained a large majority of trainees for 2 to 3 years of training, and prepared trainees for successful careers as independent investigators. Further, per recommendations from our last review, we have diversified the assignment of mentors for trainees and made co-mentorship a "norm". We have also augmented program administrative oversight with the establishment of a Steering Committee and Internal and External Advisory boards. The scientific scope of the program has been expanded with the recruitment of two basic science-oriented fellows and the addition of new senior mentors who are at the forefront of their fields. New junior mentors have been added as well, including two faculty who are graduates of this T32 program. Finally, we have been very successful in attracting trainees who come from an underrepresented minority background or who have a disability (five of 11 fellows). Since its establishment in 1993, our T32 program has trained a total of 44 research fellows who have contributed significantly to the emergence of a diverse and highly trained workforce and have assumed academic leadership roles supportive of the NIMH mission. During the last 10 years of the program specifically, our T32 program graduates have surpassed many accepted indicators of scientific impact including the proportion who are conducting research within academic, industry or non-profit settings (82%), who have received a grant as PI (47%) or who are mentoring others (88%); these T32 graduates have an average overall publication rate of 1.7 papers/year. During the next 5-year grant period, we plan to recruit and retain an additional 9-11 (MD, PhD or MD/PhD) trainees. Specific plans to increase MD or MD/PhD recruitment from the current 3 of 11 fellows to 4-5 of 11 have been established. To meet our goal of significantly expanding the knowledge base and methods "toolbox" of each trainee, we will continue to establish for each fellow individually tailored didactic, mentorship ad research plans. Using this approach, we focus the trainee's curriculum and research training on bridging traditional, between-discipline gaps in methodology, and on applying interdisciplinary solutions to complex problems in child psychiatry and neurodevelopment.