The fellowship program is intended to provide advanced, specialized training in the methods of mental health and substance abuse services research to individuals who have already completed all requirements for PhD, MD, or other relevant doctoral degrees (4th year psychiatry residents are eligible). Fellows accepted for enrollment enter the program usually on July 1st for periods up to two years, depending on the nature of their chosen areas of topical interest and the time required for the kind of research project they will identify in partnership with a program mentor. Fellows are encouraged to enroll in selected research and substantive courses, either for credit or as an auditor at UNC-CH or Duke.
In addition, all fellows in the Program will participate in a regular core seminar on mental health services research which will meet biweekly throughout the year. In addition, a 3-6 month field exposure to current mental health and substance abuse treatments and public sector service/administrative settings can be arranged in the first year for fellows who do not have prior experience or who desire for experience with the public mental health system. Lastly, fellows will be encouraged to attend departmental seminars and grand rounds at collaborating institutions.
The Mentoring Relationship
Upon acceptance to the program, all postdoctoral fellows will be asked to work out the general scope and foci of a formal mentoring arrangement with one or more of the core faculty affiliated with the Program prior to beginning the fellowship. Applicants for the Program who are accepted for admission will be facilitated in their attempt to establish such a relationship. In many respects, the training program will operate on an apprentice-type model. Mentors will work with fellows to develop an independent research project leading to one or more reports of publishable quality. Ideally, this research will be integral to one of the preceptor’s ongoing research projects in which the fellow will be able to function as a junior collaborator. It will also be possible for fellows to develop their own research studies outside of existing faculty projects as long as a preceptor agrees to guide this work.
The postdoctoral fellowship pays an annual stipend which is based on the number of years of relevant experience beyond the doctoral degree. Currently (2015), these awards range from $42,840 to $56,376 (the latter for persons with greater than seven years of experience). Experience before the awarding of the PhD or MD is not counted in determining the amount of stipend. Additional funds are available to cover tuition and fees for relevant courses and for some additional expenses associated with the training program. Health insurance costs for all fellows will be covered by the Program. Fellows are required to devote full-time effort (40 hrs/week) to the training program. Fellows may be compensated for extra work beyond the training program commitment provided it is pertinent to their research training.