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Advantages of a Broad Education

Posted on March 19, 2007

It takes a multi-disciplinary team to answer complex questions, asserts Stephen Hinshaw (bio).


So can one person do it all in terms of these multi-disciplinary endeavors? I think people need to be broadly educated. One of the mistakes of some graduate, the way we think about graduate training is you're so specific at the time you apply to graduate school you've written your dissertation in your personal statement.

I think graduate training needs to be broad so that you get several different sub-fields of education. But no one can be an expert in everything from molecular and behavioral genetics to neural imaging to the influence of families and cognitive development. You need to know enough to learn how to use consultation and to know enough how to put together a multi-disciplinary team.

The time has come when the field realizes that the advances are not going to come in mental health exclusively through genes. No mental conditions are single gene disorders. Nor are they going to come by an exclusive focus on families and schools. But it's the confluence.

So the advances are going to be made by people who are expert in a certain area, but who are bridging biological, biochemical, genetic with environmental, psychological, familial, neighborhood level factors. I think that's where the advances are going to be made. And I think the scholars who are going to get rewarded not just by grants but by advances in the field are going to be people who know how to use quantitative types, statisticians, biochemical types, environmental types and put these things together.

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Excerpted from interview with researcher in March 2006.


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