Translational Epidemiology - Training for Research on Aging and Chronic disease

Investigator: Mary Haan, DrPH, MPH
Sponsor: NIH National Institute on Aging

Location(s): United States


This training program will prepare PhD students and postdoctoral researchers to conduct research on prevention and treatment of chronic diseases such as cancer, stroke, or dementia. Our program will emphasize implementation science using evidence to intervene in multiple settings.

Chronic disease represents a major global challenge to individuals and the health care system. The knowledge and skills necessary for translation of chronic disease epidemiology into practice and policy are rapidly changing. The next generation of researchers must be equipped to capitalize on the development of implementation science in a population context, on new data sources and linkages; rapid advances in computational tools; and innovations in statistical methods, with an emphasis on translation and implementation. This training program will address the concerns of the NIH Biomedical Research and Workforce working Group by providing training applicable to multiple research related career pathways. The program (Translational Epidemiology - Training for Research on Aging and Chronic disease: TE-TRAC) focuses on chronic diseases of aging, including Alzheimer's disease and related disorders, cancer, musculoskeletal, and cardiometabolic disorders. Four unique strengths of our program are: 1) integration of population and implementation science research; 2) didactic and experiential training using implementation science to prevent and delay incidence and progression of major aging related chronic conditions; 3) emphasis on rigorous methods for longitudinal research in complex data sets; 4) use of multi-level data linkages, including genomics, clinical information drawn from electronic medical records, and environmental or social profiles. The implementation science and translational component of our program is unique among training programs that focus on chronic disease epidemiology. Formal training will be combined with experiential rotations in clinical practice, health policy, and publc health practice. The program will include key activities incorporating coursework, biweekly interdisciplinary seminars, and mentoring by renowned chronic disease researchers. The program emphasizes development of knowledge and skills related to research design, analysis, and translation, providing trainees the tools to excel as independent researchers in a new era of chronic disease epidemiology. Faculty mentors reflect the depth and breadth of the UCSF community in both clinical and population research domains. This program will be led by the department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics. We will train both pre- and post-doctoral trainees. Over five years, we will train a total of 16 scientists. Our program will train a new generation of chronic disease epidemiologists, equipped to take advantage of emerging tools/resources to develop highly effective approaches to promote healthy aging. Trainees will take leadership positions in academia, policy, communications, private industry and the health research sector.