NIMH-Funded T32 Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Mental Health Services Research

Henry Ford Health (Detroit, MI) and Kaiser Permanente Northern California (KPNC, Oakland, CA) are jointly recruiting two post-doctoral fellows for a NIMH-supported T32 two-year fellowship with the NIMH-funded Mental Health Research Network (MHRN) to commence in the summer/fall of 2023. Aspiring independent researchers will be trained broadly in health systems/health services research with a focus on mental health conditions as well as suicide prevention. Areas of particular interest and training will be in clinical interventions, healthcare service delivery, big data, implementation science, and health policy. The overall goal of the program is to support fellows in the transition to becoming independent mental health services researchers able to pursue NIMH-funding to support research within health system settings.

Fellows will work locally alongside a primary mentor at Henry Ford Health or KPNC. They will also receive high-quality mentorship and training from other scientists within multiple formats across the entire MHRN. MHRN is a consortium of 21 health systems, serving over 30 million patients using a common data system, which facilitates rigorous and reproducible multi-site studies. Our MHRN network currently leads dozens of NIH, FDA, CDC, and/or philanthropically funded grants in the areas of suicide prevention, the full spectrum of mental health conditions, and medical and substance use comorbidities, using a wide range of methods and analytic approaches. The participating MHRN health systems also have strong relationships with universities and other academic institutions. In addition to one-on-one mentoring in the fellows' areas of interest, they will also receive training in grant writing, manuscript development, health systems research methods (e.g., case-control designs, multi-site trials, dissemination and implementation), quantitative and qualitative methods, ethics, professional/career development, and conducting clinical trials. Teaching opportunities may also be available, as will clinical experiences for those seeking licensure.

Competitive applicants will have extensive research backgrounds; previous grant writing is not required, but highly attractive, while excellent writing skills are imperative. Experience in health care settings and quantitative methods are preferred. The fellow will have opportunities to conduct their own research, as well as attend scientific meetings and other professional development opportunities. Salaries and benefits will be commensurate with NIH’s NRSA stipend levels. Applicants should have a PhD, MD, or other doctoral degree in behavioral or social science (e.g., psychology, social work, public health).

In addition to one-on-one mentoring in the fellow’s area of interest, they also receive additional training. With few exceptions, all meetings take place on Academic Thursday, a full day devoted to training workshops, didactics, coursework, and other seminars.

Grant writing

As the fellowship is primarily focused on developing independent researchers, grant writing will be a major training area. Fellows are expected to develop and submit a foundation or NIH grant by the end of their first year. As such, they are provided with training in all aspects of grantsmanship to make this possible.

Professional Development

We are eager for our trainees to be competitive in the job market, should they choose to pursue employment outside of Henry Ford Health/KPNC after graduation. We offer regular seminars on topics related to job negotiation, tailoring your CV to different positions, networking best practices, how to engage stakeholders in research, and how to conduct health system-based research.


Tailored meetings allow each fellow to briefly present their current work and receive feedback from all faculty members and other fellows.

Psychiatry Grand Rounds

The Henry Ford Health Department of Psychiatry and KPNC both host a weekly Grand Rounds lecture series featuring internal, local, national, and international experts presenting on a wide range of mental health topics. Opportunities also exist for fellows to deliver a Grand Rounds lecture.

Mental Health Services Research Grand Rounds

While Psychiatry Grand Rounds will expand trainees’ exposure to mental health etiology and treatment and also to a clinical audience, we also feel it is important for them to remain contemporary with embedded mental health services research methodology, specifically. MHRN and external faculty present their research virtually or in-person to trainees. In this way, trainees will be exposed to current projects across MHRN and beyond and allowed a context in which to ask investigators questions about their work. Finally, each trainee will be expected to present during their second year.

Etiology, Prevention, and Treatment of Substance Use Disorders (Fall of even years)

In this course, fellows are exposed to leading theories on the development and course of mental health disorders. Topics also address leading scholarly activity in mental health prevention and the current evidence base of psychosocial and pharmacological treatment of mental health disorders. A major focus of this seminar is the critique of the literature and development of new research questions.

Health Services Research Methods (Fall of odd years)

In this course, fellows are exposed to the full range of health services methodology, including big data science, pragmatic and effectiveness trials, health services and utilization studies, health economics, implementation science, health policy studies, patient-centered research, and others. Topics also include various research designs and analytical approaches, such as interrupted time series designs, implementation science theories and strategies, cluster randomized designs, analysis of trials, health policy analysis, cost-effectiveness modeling, computational modeling and big data analysis, qualitative and mixed methods, and nested data analysis.

Mentored-Research Experience

Fellows will have the opportunity to participate in ongoing faculty research both locally (i.e., Henry Ford Health or KPNC) and across the MHRN. Given the breadth of funded studies in MHRN, faculty and trainees will work to match the best training experiences with project needs, resulting in fellows serving in various roles on R01-level studies.

Embedded Mental Health Services Research Annual Retreat

Each year, the Health Care Systems Research Network (MHRN is a core member of this network) hosts an annual conference. The conference includes two days of scientific sessions plus additional days for special project and interest group meetings. MHRN hosts an annual Steering Committee in-person meeting the day before the conference followed by a team dinner each year. Fellows are encouraged to attend this meeting and team dinner. We also host a 1-day postdoctoral fellowship training retreat with all trainees and MHRN program faculty on the day after the conference. This retreat consists of several presentations including a lecture on a MHRN affiliated project, 1st year fellow independent research project ideas, and 2nd year progress on grant development. Fellows receive feedback from MHRN faculty and their peers during each presentation. The day ends with a 1-hour presentation on professional development followed by a 1-hour wellness activity to promote team bonding.

University- and Health System-Based Training

All host site faculty have dual appointments at local Universities; KPNC scientists at the University of California San Francisco and Stanford and Henry Ford Health scientists at both Michigan State University and Wayne State University. As such, trainees have access to a wide range of university-led training opportunities, including grand rounds, lectures on mental health epidemiology and treatment, grant writing workshops, and networking with faculty members. Both of our health systems are also heavily invested in training and education. Henry Ford Health is responsible for the medical training of nearly all Wayne State University medical students, as well as all Michigan State University medical students, while KPNC has several ongoing post-doctoral training programs and many KPNC faculty participate in medical training at both UCSF and the new Kaiser Permanente School of Medicine. As such, departments with whom we regularly collaborate (sleep medicine, pediatrics, psychiatry, internal medicine) all have regularly scheduled training opportunities that will be available to T32 fellows.

Teaching opportunities are also available, as are clinical experiences for those seeking licensure.

Salary and Benefits

Salaries and benefits will be commensurate with NIH’s NRSA stipend levels and local health system requirements, and will include options for medical, dental, and vision insurance for self and dependents, and vacation/personal time. The fellow will have access to funds to conduct their own research, as well as attend scientific meetings and other professional development opportunities.

Application Process

There will be 2 positions for the 2023 - 2024 academic year. Start date is flexible and varies between June 1 and September 15.

Competitive applicants have extensive research backgrounds; previous grant writing is not required, but highly attractive, while excellent writing skills are imperative. Experience in health care settings and quantitative methods are preferred. Applicants should have a PhD, MD, or other doctoral degree in behavioral or social science (e.g., psychology, social work, public health). Only U.S. citizens, non-citizen nationals, and permanent U.S. residents may be appointed to an NIH T32. Exceptions are made for individuals who have an Alien Registration Receipt Card (I-551) “Green Card.”

Interested candidates should send a CV, writing sample, one letter of recommendation, and cover letter/personal statement stating their research interests and career goals to: Brian K. Ahmedani, PhD ([email protected]). Materials are due by November 15, 2022. Individuals from all backgrounds, especially those from historically underrepresented groups, are encouraged to apply. Questions can also be directed to [email protected].

For more information about Henry Ford’s Center for Health Policy and Health Services Research: click here.
For more information about KPNC’s Center for Addiction and Mental Health Research:


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