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Preventing Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral Disorders Among Young People: Progress and Possibilities
that strengthen accomplishment of age-appropriate developmental tasks. High priority should be given to increasing collaboration and joint funding across institutes and across federal agencies that are responsible for separate but developmentally related outcomes (e.g., mental health, substance use, school success, contact with the justice system).
To date there is relatively little cofunding of prevention research across NIH institutes. Such efforts may be discouraged if each institute is not given sufficient recognition of its support on a cofunded grant. Given the importance of looking at comprehensive outcomes that are the purview of specific institutes and the current fiscal limitations for NIH research, it may be necessary to offer additional incentives for institutes to cofund important prevention research. The new policy at NIH that acknowledges the important contributions of multiple investigators is a model that could also be used at the institute level to acknowledge the contributions of multiple agencies providing cofunding.
Training in prevention research, whether basic, epidemiological, translational, or implementation, is not responsive to ongoing opportunity or needs. Workforce numbers remain insufficient to carry out research and service programs targeted to prevention of MEB disorders. The complexity of prevention efforts calls for more coordinated training in multidisciplinary settings. More and better investigators are needed in all areas, particularly in the field of implementation sciences. Recruitment of future leaders should be enhanced by attracting the most talented young investigators to prevention research, through NIH-supported multidisciplinary training programs. As discussed in Chapter 5, coordination among researchers from diverse disciplines, such as developmental neuroscience, developmental psychopathology and prevention science, as well as collaboration across institutions are needed to integrate expanding knowledge from these fields.
Prevention training is neglected for a broad array of health professionals (doctors, nurses, psychologists, social workers) and for teachers as well as other school personnel, for whom prevention should be a priority issue. When mental health or substance abuse is included in a training curriculum, it tends to focus on diagnosis and treatment. Similarly, prevention and promotion content tends to emphasize general health over mental health concerns. Refinement and broad implementation of prevention interventions are likely to languish unless more extensive and robust training is realized.