Since 1998, RAND has hosted a Mini-Medical School for Social Scientists (Mini-Med) in Santa Monica, California, motivated by the recognition that behavioral and social research on aging is better informed-and ultimately more useful-if it has a sound biomedical basis. Traditional training programs in the social sciences-such as economics, psychology, demography, and sociology-often steer clear of biomedical issues. While Mini-Med does not fully remedy this deficiency, it does expose young social scientists to biomedical issues to stimulate them to further investigate the complementarities between their research and the larger biomedical field. Mini-Med consists of a two-day series of lectures by national and international experts on diverse biomedical topics of interest to researchers in aging. The event is held with a second workshop on the demography, economics, and epidemiology of aging. Combining these two workshops both reduces organizational expenses and serves to attract scholars who might otherwise not attend either program. Past participants have included senior and junior faculty at universities, post-doctoral and pre-doctoral trainees in aging, and researchers from non-profit foundations and institutions. Past lectures have covered such diverse topics as the aging process, genetics, and biology, as well as specific conditions that affect the elderly such as cancer, dementia, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. Each lecture emphasizes medical knowledge that would improve social science research on the elderly.
The RAND Mini-Medical School for Social Scientists is a 2-day training workshop consisting of master lectures by leading experts on biomedical topics of relevance to junior social scientists entering the field of aging. The workshop aims to improve social science research on the elderly by building new understanding of the biomedical processes of aging.