This is a revised application for competitive renewal of the NHLBI Short-Term Research Training for Minority Students program which has been in place at the University of Florida since 1999. The purpose of this training program is to offer undergraduate students and students in health professional schools a ten week experience in an active research laboratory, to offer them didactic material covering topics of interest to, and needed by, young scientists. The students recruited into this program will be underrepresented in medical science (under-represented minorities, disabled, or disadvantaged students). The proposed renewal of this training program is planned as a broad- based exposure to research in cardiovascular, pulmonary, and hematologic research in three colleges of the University of Florida Health Science Center. The faculty for this proposed training program spans several departments. We want this program to capture the diversity of interests and approaches to cardiovascular science, to offer a snapshot of professors in three colleges (Medicine, Pharmacy, and Veterinary Medicine) with overlapping research interests but different academic missions, to offer to our trainees a wealth of possibilities in science beyond what are sometimes naive notions of medical practice. Most of the faculty are directly involved in research which is easily identifiable as cardiovascular, pulmonary, or cardiorenal research. The program director is Charles E. Wood, Ph.D., a well-known developmental cardiovascular physiologist who has made fundamental contributions to the understanding of the reflex control of the fetal cardiovascular system. Dr. Wood will direct the relevant activities in the office of the department chairman's office as well as the Office of Minority Affairs (OMA). Selection of trainees is done by a committee consisting of four faculty members, all leading members of the U.F. College of Medicine faculty. Selection and oversight of lectures and training seminars offered during the training program will be done by Dr. Wood in his role as program director. The structure of the program is designed to be an 8-10 week mentored laboratory experience with an overarching weekly lecture series that will is designed to inform students about the structure of academic science and doctoral training programs. The students will also be required to attend a short course in the Responsible Conduct of Research. A plan for evaluation of program effectiveness is proposed that will assess career goals, perceived barriers, knowledge of academic research careers, and knowledge of higher education in research. The evaluation plan will be used as the basis of a report, after 5 years, of effectiveness of this modality of research training for undergraduates. At the end of the program, the trainees are tracked by the OMA. Students are encouraged to apply for a second summer in this program. When appropriate, individual students are encouraged to apply to the various graduate programs at the University of Florida, especially to the Interdisciplinary Program in Biomedical Sciences, but also to Ph.D., M.D., D.V.M., and Pharm.D. programs. We want to make our trainees aware of the power of basic research, especially in the cardiovascular sciences, so that they will be motivated to choose careers in research and to successfully initiate graduate-level training. We will be a success if we improve recruitment and success of under-represented minorities in academic science.
This program is designed to increase the number of students from under-represented populations (minorities, students with disabilities, and students from disadvantaged backgrounds) choosing careers in biomedical science. The long-term goal is to strengthen the effectiveness and relevance of biomedical science by increasing the diversity of the scientists who are performing hypothesis-driven research.
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