About the Program
The Advanced Fellowship in Mental Illness research and Treatment is part of the South Central Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Center (MIRECC). This two-year fellowship program trains future VA leaders for academic and research careers in a rapidly evolving health care arena by providing a firm foundation in mental health research, education, and clinical care.
Within this overall context, the fellowship offers four specialty tracks:
Health Services Research
The Health Services Research Track trains researchers who are well-versed in the issues of access, utilization, outcomes, and effectiveness of geriatric mental health disorders. The specific educational activities will serve to enhance knowledge of the clinical issues underlying the health services issues. Our research primarily aim to improve the effectiveness and reach of Veteran-centered, evidence-based behavioral health care in nonmental health settings. We develop and implement coordinated care-delivery models that target certain high-risk subgroups of Veterans, ie, those who have comorbid medical conditions, and those who live in rural settings
The Clinical Psychopharmacology Track helps investigators to translate discoveries in brain science into clinically effective treatments for the brain-based illnesses like depression and bipolar disorder.
Substance Addictions Track
The Substance Addictions Track develops investigator and clinical careers in treatment for substance use disorders including opioid, stimulant, nicotine, and alcohol dependence. Our clinical trials combine medications with various behavioral therapies such as contingency management for drug dependence. We also examine the pathophysiology of addictions using genetics, neuroimaging, and acute drug administration studies in humans.
The neuroimaging research includes both SPECT and functional MRI (fMRI) to detect and treat cocaine-induced cerebral perfusion defects and to predict pharmacotherapy outcome. These clinical studies are complemented by pre-clinical laboratories in behavioral pharmacology, immunology, and molecular genetics.
The Neuropsychiatry track explores brain and behavior relationships in mental illness that influence their cause and treatment. Conditions such as anxiety disorders and complications of impulsivity, aggression, language, and mood disturbances are presently under study, but in principle this approach is applicable to a wide range of conditions. The trainee will be exposed to a variety of disciplines, techniques, and approaches, and will have the opportunity to develop their own focus based on their interest and training. The applicant will be guided toward generation of hypothesis- driven research that leads to measurement (e.g., brain structure or function, neuropsychological performance) and the testing of a therapeutic intervention.