Our T32 program combines an in-depth research mentoring experience with a measured dose of structured, seminar type educational activities that ensure each trainee is exposed to the broad range of information necessary to successfully develop the skills and knowledge base required to become an effective scientist focused on addiction and COD.
Our curriculum includes a required T32 seminar that meets weekly to provide comprehensive coverage of science and professional development topics designed to fully cover research and career development content. T32 and associated faculty members provide lectures or lecture series on designated topics. Each year, the curriculum is developed via recruitment and coordination with these faculty, and is informed by trainee feedback from the prior year’s curriculum.
The CTBH and the CTN also have regularly scheduled educational webinars and seminars (weekly and quarterly, respectively) that offer excellent opportunities for our trainees. The CTBH seminar fosters education and collaboration through presentations by innovators in the field from Dartmouth faculty, other academic institutions, or related technology industries. CTBH brings in diverse interdisciplinary speakers with expertise in behavioral health science, treatment, technology, health economics, ethics, regulation, and public policy.
In addition, we encourage trainees to attend lectures and workshops on relevant topics across campus. Through TDI, predoctoral trainees are required to engage in professional development seminars on grant writing, advanced data analytics, and communication skills. Drs. Jacobson and Budney are responsible for making sure mentors and trainees are aware of all educational opportunities and requirements associated with the training program. This includes the broad and diverse opportunities across campus and at other institutions, e.g. statistical, grant writing, methods workshops, specialty presentations of high relevance. Administrative staff that support the CTBH, the CTN and our T32 are assigned with keeping educational opportunities up to date and informing the trainees about these events via website calendar posts and direct emails.
Our integration with the TDI graduate program affords two exciting opportunities for trainees. First, TDI offers a three-semester professional development course. This course consists of a dedicated 10-week immersive training in NIH grant writing. The course is directed by Dr. Barr (our T32 Predoctoral Director) and includes a guest faculty member each week who provides insights into their grant writing style and experiences. Students develop an R21 style grant application during the 10 weeks and finish with a mock study section. The remaining two semesters focus on communicating and disseminating research i.e., publications, lay press, conferences, and presentations. TDI leadership has agreed to allow our T32 postdoctoral trainees to audit this course and take advantage of this training.
Our T32 faculty also participate in a rotation system developed by TDI for their incoming graduate students. We have created a 10-week rotation for TDI students to spend either 2-3 weeks in different PI’s laboratories or, if they have a focused interest, they can spend the entire 10 weeks with one PI’s research team. This system also enhances opportunities for trainees’ capstone projects - a training component that involves completion of a project in a secondary mentor’s lab.