The NIDA-funded FIU T32 Training Program is supported by three academic units: the Center for Children and Families, the Center for Research on U.S. Latino HIV/AIDS and Drug Abuse (CRUSADA) and the Department of Epidemiology. Training is offered across three research tracks pertaining to Substance Use Disorders-Co-Occurring Disorders, with each track emphasizing emerging areas of research, including:
- Developmental psychopathology/neurobiology and child/adolescent risk factors for substance use
- Prevention and intervention for adolescent substance use disorders
- Dissemination, implementation, and health services practice
An emphasis will be placed on research and training for both pre-doctoral and postdoctoral research associates that is translational (e.g., moving from controlled studies to community-based participatory research), transdisciplinary (e.g., applying research strategies with different models and paradigms), and relevant for diverse populations (e.g., comorbid conditions across populations, including ethnically/racially disadvantaged groups).
Twelve program mentors, all of whom are currently funded by NIDA, NIAAA, NIMH or NICHD, have particular expertise in childhood and adolescent risk factors for Substance Use Disorder (SUD) in youth and co-occurring SUD and mental health problems (e.g. conduct problems, depression, ADHD). The faculty have expertise in prevention and intervention for at-risk teens; community-based and school-based research on prevention and intervention (extensive relationships with Miami-Dade County Public Schools, the fourth-largest school district in the U.S.), including ethnically informed treatments; drug abuse and neurodevelopment; etiology and consequences of adolescent substance use; health service disparities; and the rising popularity of opioids, electronic nicotine delivery systems, nicotine and cannabis use.
Depending on the expertise of the faculty mentor with which T32 participants will train, research opportunities will also include diverse settings, such as school health clinics, and varied models (clinical, neuroscience, preclinical and health service). Moreover, trainees will be able to take advantage of several program mentors' experience in urban settings and with community-based programs focusing on underrepresented populations including Hispanics/Latinos and African-Americans. Several mentors also conduct research with the on-campus, state-of-the-art Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scanner through FIU’s Center for Imaging Science.