The proposed North Carolina Collaborative (NCC) Summer Research Experience Program will provide a high-quality research experience for undergraduate students, high school students, and high school teachers during the summer academic break. The program will comprise a partnership between Duke University, North Carolina Central University (the nation's first liberal arts college founded for African Americans) and the socioeconomically diverse Durham and Chapel Hill Public School Districts. Students will be exposed to research that will encourage future research careers, and high school teachers will be mentored in research methods that will enable them to more effectively teach their students about the scientific process and scientific careers. The program will expand and complement NIH-sponsored training resources already in place at Duke University under the leadership of the principal investigator, Dr. Daniel K. Benjamin Jr. As chair of the Pediatric Trias Network, Dr. Benjamin has broad oversight of 3-6 large pharmacoepidemiology projects every year, each of which requires well-defined, short-term work that is ideally suited for an 8-week summer research experience and, if history serves as an example, will result in publications for trainees. In addition, the Duke Clinical Research Institute (DCRI) offers formal educational and support programs for junior faculty, fellows, residents, and medical students with funding from internal DCRI resources as well as the NIH. The proposed program represents the final piece in a continuum of NIH-supported training at the DCRI that runs the gamut from the high school level to mid-career faculty. In short, the program will be uniquely positioned within an established educational infrastructure with a track record of successful trainees. The summer research experience will take place over 8 weeks and will focus on pharmacoepidemiological research methodology and writing skills. Participants will be paired with Duke faculty to work on an original, hypothesis-driven project. For the first 2 weeks of the program, trainees will work with their faculty mentors to develop a solid knowledge base of a specific pharmacoepidemiologic question based on a thorough review of the literature. During weeks 2-8, the trainees will develop a 6-page thesis consisting of a description of the research question, specific aims, methods, and figures/tables for the study. Throughout this time, a dedicated pharmacologist and medical writer will provide trainees with didactic instruction. Trainees will work with their mentors throughout the course of the program to review their progress and the scientific validity of their work. At the conclusion of the program, trainees will present the resuts of their work at both Duke University and their home institutions. Finally, trainees will be followed for 10 years in a web-based database to assess the effectiveness of the training program. The proposed program will result in an improved pipeline of future scientists whose practical experience in pediatric clinical research will facilitate their entry into research carees.
The proposed North Carolina Collaborative (NCC) Summer Research Experience Program will provide a high-quality research experience for undergraduate students, high school students, and high school teachers during the summer academic break. The program consists of an 8-week research experience that includes a well-defined, short-term project along with rigorous didactics in pharmacoepidemiology and medical writing. This program, which seeks to attract underrepresented minorities, will result in an improved pipeline of future scientists whose practical experience in clinical research will facilitate their entry into research careers.