We propose to implement an Aging, Diversity and Professional Training (UM ADAPT) Program to provide underrepresented undergraduates with 2 yrs. of research, ethics, and career development training. Our overall aim is to increase diversity in individuals who choose careers in biomedical/behavioral research related to aging. Our specific objectives will be to: increase knowledge of landmark research on aging, enhance research skills and experience necessary to be competitive graduate school applicants in aging research, enhance awareness of the process, practice, and ethics of scientific research, prepare Trainees for graduate school and a research career, and provide quality mentoring. The program will extend over 2 consecutive yrs., including 2 academic yrs. and 2 concentrated summer experiences, with distinct activities each yr. Applicants will be recruited across the UM campus via numerous avenues. An Admissions Committee, including the Program Director, Co-Director and Coordinator, will select Trainees and match them with Mentors. Trainees will be provided with housing and remunerated during the Summer Concentrated Research Training Experience. Trainees will primarily focus on research closely integrated with that of their Mentor. Mentors will be selected from School of Public Health faculty with research programs in content areas highly relevant to NIA. The mix of Mentor expertise ranges from laboratory-based bench research to applied community-based and community participatory research. In addition to direct research experience, Trainees and the Directors will also meet frequently to discuss research-related issues, set research goals, interact with various academic professionals for dynamic exchanges about graduate school issues, and discuss classic research articles relevant to aging. During the summers, weekly sessions on either Ethics- (1st Yr. Trainees) or Research-Related (2nd Yr. Trainees) Training will be included. A 2nd Yr. /1st Yr. Peer Mentoring Program will also be implemented. Trainees will present their research in oral and poster formats at the end of each academic year and at the end of the summer session. Scientific, social, and cultural activities in the Washington, DC area will be planned. Extensive program evaluation will assess how well the program achieves pre-determined Benchmarks. Internal and External Advisory Boards will meet to review outcome data and make recommendations to improve and maintain program quality. In a similar but exclusively summer program run for the last 5 yrs. by the Program Director (UM STAR - Summer Training And Research), we met virtually all of our Benchmarks in our first 5 yrs. and made substantive changes to improve the Program based on the feedback from the Trainees, Mentors, and Internal and External Advisory Boards. We also had a substantial number of highly-diverse and highly- qualified individuals apply to UM STAR. Therefore, we very firmly believe we will be able to offer a unique and very beneficial 2 yr.-long research training and career development program to UM ADAPT Trainees.
The University of Maryland School of Public Health proposes to implement an Aging, Diversity And Professional Training (UM ADAPT) Program that provides underrepresented undergraduate students with two consecutive years, including 2 academic years and 2 concentrated summer experiences, of research, ethics, and career development training to enhance their potential to apply for and complete graduate degrees in biomedical and behavioral sciences relevant to aging. The aim of the ADAPT program is to increase diversity in the pool of individuals who ultimately choose careers in biomedical and behavioral research relative to aging. ADAPT Trainees will primarily focus on laboratory research closely integrated with that of their faculty Mentor;in addition, Trainees will take part in a didactic curriculum duing the academic year and the summer to discuss research issues, set research goals, interact with various academic professionals about graduate school issues, discuss classic research articles on aging, and take part in either specific Ethics-Related (first year trainees) or Research-Related (second year trainees) Training.