The BEST (Biostatistics Enrichment Summer Training) Diversity Program will provide research opportunities in biostatistics, cardiovascular disease, and pulmonary disease for individuals who are under- represented in biomedical research (those from disadvantaged backgrounds, racial and ethnic minorities, and individuals with disabilities), and who will contribute to a more diverse research workforce in the future. The best biomedical research is useful, relevant, and maximally generalizable to the public at large. In order to ensure the relevance and applicability of research efforts, it is essential that investigative teams are diverse in membership, with adequate representation according to gender, race/ethnicity, economic and cultural background, and disability status. If our research teams lack diversity, we run the risk of imbalance with respect to determining research priorities and resources. If our research teams are diverse, we stand to benefit from enrichment of the pool of investigators, broader perspective in setting the research agenda, greater success in recruiting subjects from diverse backgrounds, and enhanced ability to reduce health disparities. Clearly we cannot achieve the goal of more diverse research teams unless a greater number of under- represented (UR) students choose to pursue graduate education in the biomedical sciences. The goal of this proposal is to establish a summer program for UR students that will introduce them to methods and challenges in the areas of biostatistics, public health, and cardiovascular and pulmonary research, with a view to informing and influencing their career choices. We will launch a 2-month summer program for 10-15 trainees per year that incorporates 8 key features: (1) Training in skills essential for graduate school success (note-taking, scientific writing, oral presentation, and PowerPoint skills);(2) Coursework in Introductory Biostatistics and Statistical Computing with SAS;(3) A research project supervised by a faculty mentor;(4) Exposure to landmark findings and current challenges in cardiovascular and pulmonary research, as well as biostatistics; (5) Training in the responsible conduct of research;(6) Graduate admissions counseling (resume development, writing the personal essay, and GRE preparation);(7) Social activities and events;and (8) A stipend for participation and funds to defray travel costs. Trainees will also be provided with local housing. As part of our effort, we will develop and implement methods for tracking and evaluation to monitor program effectiveness. Given Columbia's reputation as a major research hub, its extensive portfolio in cardiovascular and pulmonary research, its expert faculty and mentors, and its location in ethnically diverse, culturally rich New York City, we are poised to contribute substantially to NHLBI's goal of building a more diverse scientific workforce.
Academic medical centers, pharmaceutical and device companies, governmental agencies, and research organizations seek to sponsor research that ultimately will improve the public's health. In order to ensure the relevance and applicability of research efforts, it is essential that investigative teams are diverse in membership, with adequate representation according to gender, race/ethnicity, economic and cultural background, and disability status. Greater diversity in our research teams will result in enrichment of the pool of investigators, broader perspective in setting the research agenda, greater success in recruiting subjects from diverse backgrounds, and enhanced ability to reduce health disparities.
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