The proposed Duke Summer Training in Academic Research program (referred to henceforth as ?Duke's STAR? 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 help attract young students to careers in science; provide opportunities for students to gain valuable research experience in preparation for graduate school; and enhance the skills of science teachers, enabling them to more effectively communicate the nature of the scientific process to their students. The proposed summer research program will expand and complement existing NIH-sponsored training programs already in place at Duke University under the leadership of the principal investigator, Daniel K. Benjamin Jr. As chair of the Pediatric Trials Network, Dr. Benjamin has broad oversight of 3?6 large pharmacoepidemiology projects every year, each of which requires well-defined, short-term, pre-study work that is ideally suited for a 9-week summer research experience and, as we have demonstrated with our previous R25 program, 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 a critical 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 9 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 work in groups to develop a 6?10-page manuscript consisting of a description of the research question, specific aims, methods, and figures/tables for the study. During the final 2 weeks, trainees will refine their manuscripts and prepare oral presentations of their findings. Throughout this time, a medical writer will provide trainees with didactic instruction via small group sessions. Trainees will also work with their mentors throughout the course of the program to review their progress. At the program's conclusion, trainees will present the results of their work at the DCRI before an audience of their peers, pediatrics faculty and fellows, and other community members. Finally, trainees will be followed for 10 years using a web-based database to assess the training program's impact on their subsequent academic and professional trajectories. 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 careers.
The proposed Duke Summer Training in Academic Research program (?Duke?s STAR? 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 a 9-week research experience that includes a well-defined, short-term project along with rigorous didactics in pharmacoepidemiology and medical writing. Duke?s STAR program, which seeks to attract under-represented minorities, will result in an improved pipeline of future scientists whose practical experience in clinical research will facilitate their entry into research careers.
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