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Training Program in Gerontological and Geriatric Research

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Project Summary This T32-supported ?Training Program in Gerontological and Geriatric Research (TPGGR)?, initially funded in 2009 (for 2 years), and subsequently renewed for 5 years in 2012, has supported mentored training of 5 successful investigators who remain dedicated to a research career, with 2 new fellows committed to begin training in summer/fall 2016. Our 6-year progress is on track to exceed program goals, consistent with our faculty's overall track record of outstanding success in educating other students, postdoctoral fellows, and early-career faculty. Nationwide, there is a dearth of competent investigators trained in the appropriate research skills who wish to conduct clinical research on important geriatric outcomes that lead to mobility disability, dementia, and loss of independence. Thus, the research of our T32-supported trainees has been, and will continue to be, instrumental in advancing knowledge regarding the prevention of disability and the best health care for older adults. The overall goal of our TPGGR is to provide an integrated career development pathway centered on training fellows in the skills and competencies needed to conduct clinical research directed at prevention of physical and cognitive disability. Our scholars acquire a scientific understanding of the pathways leading to physical and/or cognitive disability, as well as gain: 1) competencies needed to conduct randomized clinical trials and/or longitudinal cohort studies in the elderly, 2) experience and expertise in the measurement of cognitive and/or physical disability outcomes, and 3) specific technical or methodological skills in line with their individual interests. This training will place them in a position to transition successfully to an early-stage faculty position and to be highly competitive for new funding to continue their path towards independence. This approach complements our other training programs and integrates perfectly with the scientific themes of our existing NIA-sponsored Pepper Center, which is focused on physical function, and our endowed Kulynych Center, which is focused on cognitive function. Since our initial T32 grant, the number of research-intensive faculty and extramural funding in our Sticht Center has nearly doubled. Because of this explosion in our number of highly qualified training faculty, this proposal seeks annual salary support for 3 trainees. With a current research portfolio of funded grants totaling $28.4 million in direct costs awarded to our proposed T32 Program Faculty, we have the scientific expertise, resources, and research opportunities available for training the next generation of investigators for success in clinical geriatric research.
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