By Kelly Brooks-Staub
“Training future researchers to work collaboratively is vital to creating effective research teams in the future,” says Gayle Page, RN, DNSc, FAAN, professor and director of doctoral programs at the school. With a $1 million grant from the National Institutes of Health, Page and co-investigator Jennifer Haythornthwaite, PhD, a professor in the School of Medicine, will direct a five-year interdisciplinary research program for postdoctoral fellows to work collaboratively to better understand and address the complex problem of pain.
The hands-on instruction in cooperative research methods addresses the NIH Roadmap for Medical Research, which calls for the development of research teams where scientists “move beyond the confines of their own discipline and explore new organizational models for team science.”
“We will use a co-mentoring model, pairing each postdoctoral fellow with two core faculty members,” explains Page. “These teams will address the complex problem of pain by integrating two or more areas of expertise—behavioral/social science, biomedical science, or clinical research.”
The focus of the fellows’ research will largely depend upon their own interests and those of their faculty mentors. The faculty team (which includes 18 researchers) collectively has expertise that covers a wide range of pain-related topics, including psychosocial factors that influence people’s adaptation to pain; unequal treatment of minorities regarding conditions with pain as a primary symptom; and the neurobehavioral causes, consequences, and treatments of insomnia and sleep loss that relate to chronic pain.
The team includes seven behavioral scientists, four clinical researchers, and seven biomedical researchers. In addition to Page, two School of Nursing faculty members are part of the team: Jeri Allen, RN, ScD, FAAN, professor and associate dean for research; and Victoria Mock, DNSc, AOCN, FAAN, professor and director of the Center for Nursing Research.