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Transforming the understanding
and treatment of mental illnesses.

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Research Education Programs for Psychiatry Residents


James Churchill, Ph.D.
Mark Chavez, Ph.D.
NIMH Training Team Co-Leads


This is a re-issue of a long standing R25 program announcement that aims to support educational activities that complement and/or enhance the training of a workforce to meet the nation’s biomedical, behavioral, and clinical research needs. The over-arching goals of this initiative are to: (1) complement and/or enhance the training of a workforce to meet the nation’s biomedical, behavioral, and clinical research needs; (2) encourage individuals from diverse backgrounds, including those from groups underrepresented in the biomedical and behavioral sciences, to pursue further studies or careers in research; (3) help recruit individuals with specific specialty or disciplinary backgrounds to research careers in biomedical, behavioral, and clinical sciences; and (4) foster a better understanding of biomedical, behavioral, and clinical research and its implications. To accomplish this goal, this concept would support creative educational activities with a primary focus on part-timeResearch Experiencesand Courses for Skills Development. Specifically, this announcement would support research-oriented experiences and activities designed to develop, maintain, and expand the scientific abilities of psychiatry residents in areas relevant to the mission of NIMH. The NIMH expects all programs to foster the participation of individuals from racial and ethnic groups underrepresented in biomedical and behavioral research, individuals with disabilities, and women.


Physician-scientists are believed to bring a unique perspective to research through the blend of clinical and research experiences they have. Over the past three decades, there has been a steady decline in the number of physician-scientists actively pursuing research careers. In psychiatry, this decline has been more striking than in many other areas of medicine. Ironically, shortages of psychiatrists pursuing research careers are occurring in a time of unprecedented basic science discoveries in genetics and neuroscience, and maintaining the growth in the basic sciences relevant to mental disorders and translating basic science into the patient-care realm will be crucial for improving our understanding and treatment of severe mental illness. Recommendations made by National Advisory Mental Health Council Workgroups on Research Training and Neurodevelopment encourage the NIMH to support programs that provide state-of-the-art, research-oriented pedagogical opportunities for individuals during the formative stages of their career including the period of residency training. The optimal outcomes of this initiative are to increase the number of psychiatry residents pursuing research careers relevant to the mission of NIMH, and to reduce the length of time it takes research-oriented psychiatry residents to achieve research independence.