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Postdoctoral Alcoholism Research Training

Since 1990, a post-doctoral research training grant from NIAAA, has allowed a steady stream of creative and productive young substance abuse researchers to join the staff and facilitate ongoing work. For many years, the program supported only post-doctoral training: post-residency physicians (primarily psychiatrists, but sometimes surgeons and emergency medicine physicians) and fellows from a broad range of specialties in the behavioral and biomedical sciences. In 2002, two pre-doctoral positions were added. Although the program is normally for two years, given the time necessary to develop a new program of research and successfully launch it, it has not been uncommon for trainees to remain for three years. Program graduates have been quite successful in obtaining federal funding of their own to continue substance abuse research. In addition, more than 75% have gone on to research and/or academic careers at other universities and institutes. About a third have gone on to research faculty positions within the University of Michigan Addiction Research Center or in affiliated university departments and institutes. To review the work and accomplishments of many of the former fellows of this program, please visit our Faculty and Staff page.

There are several aspects of the training program's operation that have insured its success. One is the policy to only admit trainees whose research interests map onto work of Section faculty or of other collaborating colleagues who would be the primary mentor. This insures that candidate and mentor are ready to engage immediately and build upon research projects incrementally thereafter. In addition, the collaborator mentorships serve to strengthen the ties of affiliate programs and faculty with the Section in ways that would not take place when collegial interactions are more casual and not content-focused. These collaborations have involved research in areas such as behavioral pharmacology, statistics, developmental epidemiology, personality, and psychology.

An interdisciplinary faculty from the Departments of Psychiatry, Psychology, Pharmacology, Neurology, Emergency Medicine, the Institute for Social Research, and a number of other university-wide Centers provides a broad range of mentored research opportunities in this training program. Fellowships offer the opportunity to develop an integrated research program and enhance skills necessary for a successful academic/research career. In addition to the primary emphasis on research development, fellows participate in a broad menu of content-relevant courses and workshops to develop their methodological expertise. Trainees also complete a web-based research responsibility training course called Program for Education and Evaluation of Responsible Research and Science (PEERRS). Fellows present at and attend quarterly meetings and monthly research seminars and attend pertinent UM Substance Abuse Research Center (UMSARC) seminars, interdisciplinary lectures, and Department of Psychiatry Grand Rounds.