Through the NIDDK Short-Term Education Program for Underrepresented Persons (STEP-UP), Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science (CDU) proposes to continue and further enhance, over the 5-year renewal period, its National High School Student Summer Research Apprentice Program. The main goal of this program is to increase the number of underrepresented minority and disadvantaged students "in the pipeline" who are committed to a career in biomedical, clinical, behavioral, or social science research in the NIDDK mission areas, including diabetes, endocrinology, metabolism, nutrition, obesity, and diseases of the digestive, urologic, kidney, and hematologic systems. Utilizing effective recruitment, retention, and education and training strategies, CDU STEP-UP is contributing to the much-needed diversification of the biomedical and health care workforce by training research scientists who are culturally competent and responsive to the multiple and complex health-related needs of underserved minority and socioeconomically disadvantaged populations. During the renewal period, the program will continue to provide an in-depth, mentored health sciences immersion experience each summer to 25 promising high school students from racial/ethnic groups underrepresented in biomedical and behavioral research, and/or from disadvantaged backgrounds who would otherwise likely not have access to a career path in science. This education and training experience encompasses exposure to critical methodologies and principles of biomedical research in the NIDDK mission areas and in disease areas identified by Healthy People 2010 as disproportionately prevalent among underrepresented minority communities. The CDU program includes an introductory web-based training curriculum in the Responsible Conduct of Research, an informal mentor-led laboratory and research orientation, opportunities for attendance at various research forums, specialized student-specific research assignments and activities, and the annual NIH/NIDDK student research symposium where students present their research findings to their peers.
The specific aims of the CDU National High School Student Summer Research Apprentice Program are to (1) provide a rewarding 10-week summer research experience to 25 high school students annually, which includes education in research principles, conduct, evaluation, and presentation;(2) provide intensive mentoring to each student by active research faculty;(3) fully participate in the national STEP-UP forum at NIH/NIDDK, where the program students make oral and/or poster presentations to peers and established researchers using the standard presentation format of national scientific meetings;and (4) evaluate the impact of this NIH/NIDDK-CDU program.
The CDU National High School Student Summer Research Apprentice Program is designed to increase the number of underrepresented minority and disadvantaged students in the pipeline who are committed to careers in biomedical, behavioral, clinical, or social science research in the NIDDK mission areas, with special emphasis on the diseases that disproportionately impact ethnic and racial minorities and other vulnerable and medically underserved populations. Through this expansion in diversity of the research workforce, the ultimate goal is to improve health care and outcomes within historically underserved communities nationwide.