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Funded Training Programs

Psychiatric Epidemiology Funded Training (PET) Program

The Psychiatric Epidemiology Training Program is motivated by the fact that mental disorders are among the leading causes of disability in the world, and improved strategies to reduce their burden are needed.  The goal of the training program is to produce the next generation of psychiatric epidemiologists who can address this need by conducting research that will advance our understanding of the causes and consequences of mental disorders, and developing, implementing, and evaluating rationally designed interventions to prevent and/or control these disorders.  Recent scientific advances in omics (e.g., genomics, epigenomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, and metabolomics), informatics (e.g., electronic medical records, mobile technologies, and biosensors) and imaging present new opportunities for accelerating the discovery and translation of findings into public health gains.  This training program capitalizes on the unusually rich resources for biomedical research at the Johns Hopkins University to provide trainees with the skills and experiences needed to lead multi-disciplinary research that takes advantage of these emerging opportunities and promotes mental health.  It achieves this through a rigorous program of coursework, research apprenticeships, and integrative activities that provide trainees with a solid foundation in the core proficiencies of psychiatric epidemiology while giving them the opportunity to pursue specialized training in one of two Concentrations:  Etiology of Mental Disorders and Interventions in Mental Disorders.  In addition, it provides a Methods Support Hub that brings together the extensive expertise in working with data-intensive methods around the Johns Hopkins community, particularly in genomics, informatics and imaging, to support the activities of the trainees and provide them with resources needed to advance their training. 

The program includes four predoctoral students and two postdoctoral fellows who are supported by an experienced group of 21 Core and 25 Affiliate Faculty who are aligned with one of the two Concentrations.  Postdoctoral fellows take some courses in epidemiology and biostatistics, depending on background and experience, and engage in original research under the supervision of a faculty member. Pre-doctoral trainees take one and half years of courses in epidemiology, biostatistics, and mental health, before completing qualifying examinations and a research dissertation. The trainees are prepared to assume leadership positions in academia carrying out mental health research typically on faculty in Schools of Public Health or Medicine, in government formulating research priorities and mental health policy at the local, state, national, and international levels, in private industry conducting applied research for pharmaceutical or other mental health care delivery companies, and in non-profit mental health agencies or non-governmental organizations advocating for those with mental disorders.  This training program has successfully trained psychiatric epidemiologists for 4 decades.

People in the PET Program:

For more information, please contact:

Heather E. Volk, PET Program Co-Director: hvolk1@jhu.edu
Peter P. Zandi, PET Program Co-Director: pzandi@jhu.edu
Patty Scott, Academic Coordinator: patty.scott@jhu.edu

The PET program is funded with a training grant from the National Institute of Mental Health.