The overall goal of the Research, Education and Training Core (RETC) is to support the mission of the Center by helping build scientific capacity in health disparities research, helping produce the next generation of health disparities researchers, and attracting more minorities to careers in health disparities research. This will be accomplished through research, training and education that support knowledge development within an ecodevelopmental framework that conceptualizes health and health disparities as a result of the intersection of multilevel factors and builds on the Center's strengths in advancing understanding of the role of culture in addressing health disparities. In addition to activities designed to enhance the skills and knowledge of SIRC's faculty affiliates, graduate students and undergraduate students, the RETC will recruit and train 12 early career faculty, 3 post-doctoral fellows and 12 doctoral students, at least 50% of whom are minorities, in health disparities research. Trainees will be assigned a senior faculty mentor and together the mentor and trainee will create a developmental and individualized training plan that includes active involvement in a health disparities research project and enhances the trainee's knowledge, research skills and productivity. The ultimate goal of the training is to produce a highly competent, independent health disparities researcher (faculty and post-doc. fellows) or, for doctoral students, commitment to a career in health disparities research and a dissertation relevant to health disparities. Through involvement with research teams at SIRC, all trainees will have the opportunity to become immersed in interdisciplinary Work Groups of faculty, postdoctoral fellows, graduate students and community partners who work collaboratively to identify and sharpen research questions, locate populations, determine feasible sampling designs, and engage in pilot and preliminary studies. To build on the work of SIRC, the RETC trainees, working with the Community Engagement/Outreach Core and community partners, will follow a community-based participatory research approach grounded in community needs, involving community partners at all stages of the research. The RETC will build on its strong record of past success in achieving these goals.
Producing the next generation of health disparities researchers and attracting more minorites to engage in health disparities research will result in more rapid progress toward eliminating these inequities. Minority researchers have a greater understanding of cultural barriers to improved health, a sophisticated understanding of the experiences of minority groups in the US, and are realistic about the challenges of conducting research in minority communities and are thus ideally positioned to conduct such research.
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