Programs for developing the pipeline of early-career geriatric mental health researchers: Outcomes and implications for other fields
Health Services for the Aged
Mental Health Services
Outcome Assessment (Health Care)
This report summarizes the findings and recommendations of an expert consensus workgroup that addressed the endangered pipeline of geriatric mental health (GMH) researchers. The workgroup was convened at the Summit on Challenges in Recruitment, Retention, and Career Development in Geriatric Mental Health Research in late 2007. Major identified challenges included attracting and developing early-career investigators into the field of GMH research; a shortfall of geriatric clinical providers and researchers; a disproportionate lack of minority researchers; inadequate mentoring and career development resources; and the loss of promising researchers during the vulnerable period of transition from research training to independent research funding. The field of GMH research has been at the forefront of developing successful programs that address these issues while spanning the spectrum of research career development. These programs serve as a model for other fields and disciplines. Core elements of these multicomponent programs include summer internships to foster early interest in GMH research (Summer Training on Aging Research Topics-Mental Health Program), research sponsorships aimed at recruitment into the field of geriatric psychiatry (Stepping Stones), research training institutes for early career development (Summer Research Institute in Geriatric Psychiatry), mentored intensive programs on developing and obtaining a first research grant (Advanced Research Institute in Geriatric Psychiatry), targeted development of minority researchers (Institute for Research Minority Training on Mental Health and Aging), and a Web-based clearinghouse of mentoring seminars and resources (MedEdMentoring.org). This report discusses implications of and principles for disseminating these programs, including examples of replications in fields besides GMH research.