The University of Hawaii, John A. Burn School of Medicine, proposes to develop a summer biomedical research training and education program for the underrepresented minority high school students in the Pacific region. This program will encompass the State of Hawaii, the US-affiliated (flagged) territories of American Samoa, Guam, and the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands;and the US-associated (non-flagged) territories that include the Republic of Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia, and the Republic of the Marshall Islands. These Pacific communities constitute the most concentrated populations of underrepresented Pacific Islanders, with success rates of higher educational attainment well below national averages, and well known burdens of disease disparities that are relevant to NIDDK. The research training program we propose will be unprecedented in most of the targeted Pacific communities where biomedical research infrastructures and health research education are nonexistent. Our short-term goal is to raise awareness of biomedical research and career pathways in high school students, with the long-term objective of establishing a steady pipeline of underrepresented young students with interests and readiness in pursuing biomedical sciences education and, ultimately, research careers relevant to NIDDK's mission. To begin to address these goals, our proposed program, "Pacific High Schools STEP-UP to Biomedical Research" will focus on four Specific Aims.
Aim 1 is to recruit annually 20 high school students (underrepresented;11 /12 Grade) from Hawaii, Am. Samoa, Guam, CNMI, FSM, Republic of Palau, and Republic of Marshall Islands to Pacific STEP-UP.
Aim 2 is to provide the Pacific STEP-UP students high- quality, hands-on research experience related to NIDDK mission, and research-related education over the summer period at JABSOM.
Aim 3 is to introduce and stir interests in biomedical research by providing local exposure to molecular biology laboratory techniques and related scientific concepts in the form of mini- workshops to targeted high school teachers and students in Am. Samoa, CNMI, and Republic of Marshall Islands. Finally, Aim 4 is to recruit at least 20 scientists at JABSOM with research related to NIDDK mission areas as mentors for STEP-UP students (Aim 1), and develop a mentoring plan for the STEP-UP students. We will evaluate the impact of our program in terms of increasing Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders to pursue higher education in biomedical sciences, particularly in areas relevant to NIDDK's mission.
One of the Healthy People 2020's goals is to eliminate health disparity. It is widely known that health disparity occurs among underrepresented minority populations and this is no exception for Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders (NHOPI). It is also widely accepted that research on diseases that disproportionately affect minorities may be best take on by scientists of the same minority background because they are more sensitive to ethnic and cultural issues that are contributory to the disease processes. Unfortunately, the number of underrepresented minorities engage in biomedical research is much lower that the general population. The proposed research education program will address this deficiency by targeting underrepresented high school students in all US affiliated Pacific communities and provide opportunities for biomedical research experience. The goals and objectives is to inform, raise interests and awareness of biomedical research careers in these populations in order to create and sustain a pipeline of underrepresented individuals with likelihood of pursuing biomedical research careers.
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