The aim of the training core is to provide high quality interdisciplinary biomedical and non-biomedical training, education and mentoring for the diverse group of students at the institutions participating in the PRoTECT program. To achieve this aim, we have developed an effective training core program that will enable students to: 1) understand and integrate the problems and concepts of health impacts assessment of contaminated systems, contaminant detection, fate and transport, exposure routes, remediation, and information management;2) develop competence in the applied methods underlying research core activities;and 3) advance their technical, professional and personal skills/knowledge/attitudes to motivate and prepare them for successful careers in these fields. The training core will impact students across a wide spectrum of experience, discipline and educational levels resulting in both vertically (education/experience) and horizontally (discipline) integrated training, education and mentoring. Senior research core personnel (faculty, research scientists, etc.) will contribute to this core via new and enhanced course offerings, informal training opportunities, seminar and workshop offerings, field and laboratory experiences, and mentoring junior personnel. The training core begins with effective recruiting of human resources at all levels, from undergraduate students through post-doctoral fellows, with particular emphasis on recruiting from groups underrepresented in the affected disciplines. Along with a myriad of support mechanisms (including scholarships, stipends, and various training/education programs) a "ladder" mentoring/training system will be implemented, whereby those at various levels benefit from the knowledge and experience of those above them, and in turn, mentor and train those junior to them, with the goal of moving each person to the next rung on the professional ladder. A systematic assessment and evaluation program will feed into a continuous quality improvement process to help the project team to understand, and modify as necessary, the interactions between the education/training activities and the research cores. This will optimize the impact on human resources required for the research activities and how those activities provide tools and opportunities for educational and professional development.
Understanding of highly complex problems requires design and operation of interdisciplinary training and educational activities because a single disciplinary approach cannot solve such complicated problems. The training core will play a critical role in integrating researchers and students from diverse disciplines to focus on a unifying theme of the PRoTECT program.
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