Pre-doctoral Traineeship


Nicole Morrell, CPPR Administrative Director

About the program

The Translational Prevention Science Training Program utilizes a “team science” model providing three major mechanisms for training. Trainees will (1) participate in formal coursework, seminars, and colloquia, (2) complete a research apprenticeship as a member of a transdisciplinary team, and (3) execute a research project in a community practice setting.

By virtue of participation in this program, it is anticipated that trainees will select training experiences and develop an Individual Training Plan (ITP) organized around one or more of the following themes:

  1. advance their knowledge of the biological, psychosocial, and/or cultural foundations of mental, emotional, behavioral, and substance use disorders in children and adolescents,
  2. select, develop, or study mechanism-based cognitive-, affective-, and psychosocial-based therapeutic change strategies that can be embedded in preventive interventions and tested with high risk children and adolescents,
  3. identify candidate moderator variables that influence response to preventive interventions, via creative experimental designs (such as a SMART design),
  4. incorporate culturally sensitive methods into the design of personalized prevention programs,
  5. identify the critical components of youth and parent decision-making processes that influence the choices they make regarding the type of intervention they are willing to receive as well as the desired format and dosage, and/or
  6. use innovative experimental designs (e.g. randomized preference trials, comparative effectiveness designs) to test the comparative effects of various intervention options that are assigned via preference or assigned at random.

The proposed training program will be offered by a transdisciplinary consortium of faculty across college units at the University of Minnesota, as well as a network of community practice partners representing child-serving systems of care in children’s mental health in the greater Twin Cities area.

Required Coursework

Community Intervention/Implementation (2 courses in prevention science)

  • PREV 8001 Prevention Science Core: Principles and Practices (3 credits)
  • PREV 8003 Implementation and Dissemination (3 credits)
  • PREV 8005 Prevention Science Capstone Course (1 credit)

Neurobehavioral Development (at least 1 course required in basic neuroscience)

  • NSCI 5101 Introduction to Neuroscience (3 credits)
  • PSY 5062 Cognitive Neuropsychology (3 credits)
  • PSY 5064 Brain and Emotion (3 credits)

Psychosocial (at least 1 psychosocial-based course required)

  • PSY 8541 Multicultural Psychology (3 credits)
  • PSY 8960 Developmental Psychology: Cultural and Individual Differences

Quantitative (2 courses required) and Mixed Methods (1 course required):

  • EPSY 8261 Statistical Methods I: Probability and Inference (3 credits)
  • EPSY 8262 Statistical Methods II: Regression and the General Linear Model (3 credits)
  • PREV 8002 Prevention Science Research Methodology (3 credits)
  • PSY 8814 Analysis of Psychological Data (4 credits)
  • PSY 8815 Analysis of Psychological Data (4 credits)
  • PSY 8209 Research Methods in Social Psychology (3 credits)
  • STAT 5101 Theory of Statistics I (4 credits)
  • NURS 8195 Mixed Methods in the Behavioral, Social, and Applied Health Sciences (3 credits)

Core course in grant writing

  • CPSY 8360 Grant Writing (2 credits)

**The courses listed are recommendations. Relevant graduate-level courses may be substituted in each domain with the prior approval of the training program director.

Individual Training Plan

Trainees are required to develop expertise in a subspecialty content area and infuse this knowledge into the design and testing of preventive interventions. Trainees will select a primary and an associate mentor from the Prevention Science faculty. In collaboration with their mentors, trainees are expected to draft an individual training plan (ITP) drawing from three disciplinary cores: prevention science (PS), neurobehavioral development (NBD), and community intervention and implementation (CI/I).

Research Apprenticeship

Based on their ITP, a selection of a research apprenticeship with a transdisciplinary (TD) team will be provided. The TD team will consist of the Prevention Science trainee, primary and associate mentors representing PS, affiliate mentors drawn from complementary neurobehavioral development (NBD) and developmental science (DS) disciplines, and community mentors from a community care system.

The trainee is expected to spend a minimum of 10 hours a week engaged in a research project with collaboration from their TD team. Trainees are encouraged to work both within and across NBD and DS labs. Depending on the trainee’s interests and goals, the apprenticeship may vary from an independent project selected by the trainee to an ongoing project being conducted by the TD team.

Community Practicum

Each trainee will be placed in a community practice setting to carry out a project generated from their research apprenticeship. This placement will provide the trainee with an opportunity to gain experience and expertise in collaborating and negotiating with community agencies that are crucial partners in research studies. Community practicum opportunities will be available via an expanding network of community-academic partnerships that include service providers who are being asked to provide prevention services to underrepresented populations (e.g., child guidance clinics, domestic violence and homeless shelters, supportive housing, diversion and probation programs, urban primary care clinics and family resource and support centers, etc.) as well as local government and state agencies/systems.

It is expected that trainees will spend approximately 10 hours a week engaged in the following activities:

  1. developing and refining research questions with input from agency stakeholders,
  2. assisting the community site in embedding the intervention and research design into the agency’s service structure,
  3. collaborating with the agency in developing subject recruitment criteria, enrollment procedures and human subjects protection policy,
  4. assembling, administering, and collecting study data, and
  5. sharing results with the agency and assisting in dissemination of findings

Past and Current Trainees

Julie Nguyen, Psychology 2017-present
Calvary Diggs, Educational Psychology 2016-2019
Kate Gliske, Family Social Science 2014-2017
Eric Thibodeau, Institute of Child Development 2014-2016