Tuesday, October 26 | 3:00 PM – 4:30 PM ET | Virtual

ABCT Student Membership Committee 2021 Convention Panel

Predoctoral and Early Career Training Grants: The What, Who, Why, and How

Shannon M. Blakey, PhD, Durham VA Health Care System/VA Mid-Atlantic Mental Illness Research, Education & Clinical Center (MIRECC)

Angela Fang Sarah Campbell Donte Bernard Antonio Polo

Donte Bernard, PhD, Medical University of South Carolina
Sarah Campbell, PhD, VA Puget Sound Health Care System – Seattle
Angela Fang, PhD, University of Washington
Antonio Polo, PhD, DePaul University

About the Presenters:

Donte Bernard, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the National Crime Victims Research & Treatment Center at the Medical University of South Carolina. Dr. Bernard received his PhD in Clinical Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and has developed a program of research that seeks to understand culturally relevant risk and protective factors that inform how racism-related stress and trauma impact the psychological and behavioral health of Black youth across sensitive developmental periods. Dr. Bernard has earned predoctoral fellowships from NSF and Ford Foundation, and is currently funded by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (K23MD016168-01).

Sarah B. Campbell, PhD, is a clinical psychologist and health services researcher at the HSR&D Seattle-Denver Center of Innovation and an acting Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Washington School of Medicine. She earned her PhD in clinical psychology from George Mason University, following post-baccalaureate respecialization in psychology at Columbia University and a clinical internship at VA Puget Sound Health Care System, Seattle Division, where she also completed postdoctoral training. Her research, largely in the domain of PTSD and interpersonal relationships, has been funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the American Psychological Foundation, and the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies. Of particular relevance, Dr. Campbell was previously supported by an NIH F31 predoctoral fellowship and is currently supported by a VA Career Development Award. She also provides couple, individual, and group therapy for Veterans with PTSD and related conditions.

Angela Fang, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Washington. She is Director of the Center of Neuroscience, Neuroendocrinology, and Clinical Translation (CoNNeCT Lab) and Co-Director of the CALM Clinic for Anxiety, Traumatic Stress, and Obsessive Compulsive Related Disorders at the University of Washington. She received her PhD in clinical psychology at Boston University and completed her predoctoral internship and postdoctoral fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. She has been awarded a 5-year K23 Career Development Award from the NIMH, NIH Loan Repayment Award, foundation grants from the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation and International OCD Foundation, as well as other departmental grants. She has also sat on review panels for the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program.

Antonio J. Polo, PhD, is a Professor in the clinical-child psychology program at DePaul University. His research interests concentrate on three primary areas. The first area focuses on the prevention and treatment of depression and anxiety in youth, centering on developing interventions that are evidence-based, transportable, and effectively implemented in community settings, as well as culturally informed and well-received by ethnic and linguistic minority youth and their families. A second research area involves expanding our understanding about the mental health of Latinx children, adolescents, and their families; specifically, how cultural influences and other risk and protective factors help explain the patterns and levels of maladjustment they exhibit. Third, Dr. Polo has been involved in developing educational strategies and programs for individuals to become actively involved in the educational and mental health systems. This research includes interventions to help clients become collaborative partners with their providers order to identify and receive the best possible services. He has reviewed and/or mentored students for pre-doctoral and dissertation fellowships for the Ford Foundation, APA’s Minority Fellowship Program, and the National Science Foundation.

About the Moderator:

Shannon Blakey, PhD, is a VA Advanced Fellow in Mental Illness Research and Treatment at the Durham VA Health Care System and VA Mid-Atlantic Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Center (MIRECC). She received her PhD from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill after completing her clinical internship at VA Puget Sound Health Care System, Seattle Division. Dr. Blakey’s research interests center on the nature and treatment of mental health conditions common among U.S. military Veterans, such as posttraumatic stress disorder, substance use, depression, and anxiety-related disorders. She serves in several ABCT leadership roles, including Chair of the ABCT Student Membership Committee, Young Professional Liaison for the ABCT Military and Veteran Psychology SIG, and Associate Editor of ABCT’s the Behavior Therapist

Key words: Professional development; Student issues

Primary topic: Professional/interprofessional issues

At the end of this session, the learner will be able to:

  1. Explain the purpose and professional development value of predoctoral and early career training grants.
  2. Define the eligibility and application requirements for various predoctoral and early career training grants.
  3. Describe what applicant- and application-related factors strengthen the competitiveness of a predoctoral and early career training grant candidate.


Agencies like the Ford Foundation, National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Science Foundation (NSF), and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) strive to attract, develop, and retain talented mental health scientists through the administration of research training grants. To this end, agencies invest in promising predoctoral, postdoctoral, and early career scientists by awarding grants to not only support the execution of an important research project, but also the awardee’s professional advancement. Such training grants are highly competitive, however, and not all eligible candidates are equipped or empowered to submit a successful application.

This panel, sponsored by the ABCT Student Membership Committee, will provide students and postgraduate trainees insight into the purpose, advantages, and challenges of predoctoral and early career training grants. Panelists include recipients of select student grants (NSF and Ford Foundation awards), postdoctoral training grants (NIH T32 and VA Mental Illness Research and Treatment fellowships), and early career research training grants (NIH K and VA Career Development Awards). The panel additionally includes an established faculty member who regularly reviews and mentors predoctoral training grant applications. Panelists will highlight the specific advantages of various training grants, describe their experiences drafting/evaluating training grant applications, offer recommendations for making the most of training grant, and share other “lessons learned” during their predoctoral and early career research development. There will be ample opportunity for attendee participation in addition to moderated Q&A.

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