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Drug Abuse Research Training Program

The Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) psychiatry residency program offers an NIH-sponsored research track (R25  DA020537: PIs Back & Brady) for residents committed to pursuing research careers. The research track can be integrated within any of the three main residency programs and encompasses the last one or two years of residency training.  The goal of the research training program is to increase the number of psychiatrists with the skills to conduct patient-oriented research as independently funded investigators. (Please note, there is also a summer research fellowship for undergraduate students; if you are an undergraduate student interested in this opportunity, please click the link above for the DART Summer Fellowship Program.)

The program is directed by Dr. Sudie Back, Dr. Sarah BookDr. Kelly Barthand Dr. Kathleen Brady.  The program accomplishes its objectives within the same four-year time period required for clinical training and board certification in psychiatry.  In addition, the training format qualifies residents for the new NIH Clinical Research Loan Repayment Program initiative.

The 2017 DART residents and alumni at the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry Conference in January of 2017.

Pictured below (from right to left): Dr. Dennis Orwat Jr., Dr. Eric Brueckner, Dr. Leah Fryml, Dr. E. Thomas Lewis III, Dr. Sarah Book (DART Program Director) and Dr. Greg Sahlem

As a trainee in the research track, you will benefit from receiving individually-tailored, mentored research training; assistance with designing research studies; support in submitting applications to the university’s IRB and local or national funding organizations; assistance with statistical design and analysis questions; financial support to conduct your research; financial support to attend and/or present at research conferences; assistance with preparing conference abstracts, manuscripts to be submitted for publication, and grant applications; the opportunity to work with a multidisciplinary team of accomplished researchers from various backgrounds including psychiatry, psychology, pharmacology, nursing, and biostatistics; and work space including wired cubes at the program’s main office location in the Charleston Center.

Selected residents participate half-time, in a well-coordinated curriculum that includes intensive mentored research rotations (each resident is matched with an active researcher who will serve as the primary mentor responsible for guiding the individual's research experience in their principal area of research interest), and formal didactic training in the skills typically necessary for a successful research career.  These include, for example: methodological skills (e.g., study design, data collection, and statistical techniques); communication skills (e.g., written and oral communication, presentation skills); research ethics; and attitudinal skills (e.g., seeking and accepting advice, collaboration with colleagues).  Seminars are held each week at 9:00am on Tuesdays in the Roper Medical Office Bldg, Suite 140.  While these seminars are mandatory for trainees in the research track, they are open to residents and students outside the program and all are welcome to attend.  Contact Dr. Sudie Back at for more information or to be added to the seminar email list.

Selected residents will have an initial assessment of their current research knowledge and skills, which will guide the individualization of the curriculum.  This assessment will ensure that deficiencies in training that would serve as an impediment to a successful independent research career will be targeted in training.  For example, most residents present with inadequate skills in research methodology, experimental design, and statistics which impedes their ability to fully participate in issues of study design, study execution, and data analysis.  Thus, the program takes responsibility for ensuring that these voids are filled for each individual either through formal course work, attendance at seminars, mentoring activities, and/or exposure to relevant research experiences.


Click here for the DART Research Track Objectives and Corresponding Program Components.