This R13 meetings grant application seeks support for five yearly three-day stand alone conferences to be held at selected locations beginning in the fall of 2009. This proposal reflects a collaborative initiative between Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center and the National Hispanic Science Network on Drug Abuse (NHSN), based at the University of Miami. The annual scientific conferences help to accomplish the NHSN mission of fostering both interdisciplinary and translational research, by promoting dialogue between biologic, social, behavioral, and cultural scientists and disseminating findings back to the field. Previous conferences, supported through a NIDA-funded contract, have been an effective platform for developing the aims of the NHSN, with particular emphasis on mentoring and training Hispanic graduate students and early career scientists.
The aims of the conferences will be: A) to advance science in the area of drug abuse research and its co-morbid conditions, particularly as it impacts on the Hispanic population. It will promote bidirectional translational research ranging from bench to community and a trans-disciplinary cross-fertilization of ideas among scientists from all fields of drug abuse helping to establish future research priorities. B) To foster the development of Hispanic researchers, with emphasis in areas related to drug abuse research by facilitating the development of integrated and continuous collaborative and mentoring networks. Funding is requested to support participation for 50 trainees/early career scientists and 20 research scientists presenting in the scientific panels. An average of 150 participants, representing the field from the national and international scientific communities, are expected at each yearly conference, including members of the global research community whose interests encompass a multifaceted approach to understanding the factors underlying health disparities as they pertain to drug use and abuse ranging from epidemiology to environmental health, psychology, sociology, health policy, neuroscience and other biomedical sciences, and epigenetics. The first conference proposed "Integrating Population, Laboratory, and Clinical Sciences in Minority Health" will be hosted by the University of Miami, from December 1-3, 2009. The format of the conference aims to provide ample opportunity for discussion, networking, and collaboration discussions as well as development of new ideas related to training and mentoring of the next generation of researchers in the field of drug abuse. The themes, scientific content, and program for each conference will be developed by a Scientific Conference committee comprised of NHSN members, NIH officials, and federal liaisons. The themes will be directly related to NIDA's strategic plan and the NIH blueprint, addressing timely topics and developing challenges in the field.
The Annual National Hispanic Science Network on Drug Abuse Conference provides multidisciplinary scientists in drug abuse and related fields interested in advancing science, particularly as it pertains to the Hispanic population, to have a collegial exchange providing a forum for discussion and dissemination of research findings and an opportunity for networking and mentoring trainees in the area of drug abuse research. This unique opportunity will promote bidirectional translational research ranging from bench to community and a trans-disciplinary cross-fertilization of ideas among scientists from all fields of drug abuse. The PI and the organizing committee are confident that the proposed conferences will serve as a platform to establish future research priorities for the field of drug abuse as it pertains to the Hispanic population.
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