This renewal PRIDE application (RFA-HL-14-021) from Washington University in St. Louis, School of Medicine, proposes to continue its Summer Institute program in "Cardiovascular Genetic Epidemiology" with enhancements based on prior experience with PRIDE and the original SIPID. The primary goal of our program is to enhance diversity of the biomedical research workforce by training and mentoring junior faculty from diverse racial and ethnic groups who are underrepresented in the biomedical research workforce and scientists with disabilities. Through research oriented educational activities and effective mentoring, our program will help the "Mentees" to develop as independent research investigators in an area of programmatic relevance to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). The program will extend basic training and intensive mentoring in genetic epidemiology and cardiovascular research. Toward this end, the currently ongoing PRIDE (RFA-HL-10-019) Program will be further enhanced, using a mix of didactic instruction, survey lectures, and hands-on computer labs.
The specific aims deal with: the recruitment of a cohort of 8 Mentees during each of the first 3 years and providing them with a 3-week long 1st Summer Institute, followed by year-long mentoring that includes a 2-day mid-year meeting and a 3-day annual meeting in Bethesda, followed by a 3-week long 2nd Summer Institute. In general, junior faculty, transitioning post-doctoral fellows, and scientists with disabilities who are in early staes of their careers and with a declared research focus in heart, lung, blood, and sleep (HLBS) disorders will be recruited. For each cohort recruited, the 1st Summer Institute will include hands-on learning of some of the critical concepts and methods, developing career plans and independent research plans by working closely with the Mentors, the Leadership Committee, and the Program Directors. This will be followed by year-long mentoring, with a mid-year meeting to critique the evolving research/grant plans. The Mentees will return to the 2nd Summer Institute which will be devoted, in addition to select educational activities to expand the skill set, largely to critiquing, revising, and finalizing drafts of grant applications, by taking ull advantage of the extraordinary resources of the participating institutions and Mentors. Mock study sections will be organized to review and critique the evolving grants, providing them with ample feedback for improvement and for eventual submission for funding. Highlights of the proposed program include: "Group Brainstorming" meetings held on most of the days during the Summer Institutes where all available Mentors and Mentees get together to collectively review, analyze, and critique the evolving research plans of the Mentees, and the special workshops devoted to unique challenges and barriers faced by diverse faculty. Evaluation and tracking tools already in place in the context of the SIPID program have been enhanced during the current PRIDE under the leadership of the PRIDE Coordination Core. Training in the responsible conduct of research has been vastly improved for this renewal application/period. Effectiveness of the program will be measured primarily by success in securing independent grant support;secondary measures will include publications in scientific journals and academic promotions.
Training and mentoring a diverse biomedical research workforce in state-of-the-art approaches to research in cardiovascular diseases is of considerable public health importance. A highly desirable added benefit is that the trained scientists are more likely to succeed in their research efforts to deal with health disparities among racial and ethnic groups.