One of the most important challenges we face in healthcare today is a lack of diversity in the US biomedical research workforce. To address this issue, in 2006 the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) funded a Summer Institute Program to Increase Diversity (SIPID) training program, and later the Program to Increase Diversity Among Individuals Engaged in Health-Related Research (PRIDE). We were founding members of both innovative programs, with the Functional and Applied Genomics of Blood Disorders Summer Institute currently in its last year at Georgia Regents University (GRU). We recruited and trained 47 junior faculty mentees who received intense mentoring, including hands-on training in bench research and grantsmanship. Program evaluations suggest these Summer Institutes have achieved their primary goal of aiding mentees in obtaining extramural grant funding within two years of program completion. The renewed GRU-PRIDE program will keep all of the successful elements of the previous program, while offering several innovative changes to the curriculum and mentoring activities. The goal of our program during this renewal will be to empower 36 mentees to develop a competitive research project through an intensive mentoring and hands-on bench research training experience;success of this program will be measured, in part, by the ability of each mentee to acquire extramural funding within two years following program completion. To reach this goal we propose the following aims:
AIM 1 Conduct GRU PRIDE 1 Summer Institute: implementation of the GRU PRIDE 1 Summer Institute, including the establishment of individual Mentorship Committees in collaboration with the Coordination Core will begin during the first year of this award. The Summer Institute is composed of a multidisciplinary didactic curriculum, hands-on bench research training and a grant-writing workshop to expand the knowledge base of mentees in the field of genomics research as it applies to blood disorders.
AIM 2 Mentoring and Networking Activity: In addition to the continuation of our Mentorship Committees, we will implement two innovations: a mentee virtual network and a peer- networking laboratory. Mentees will make a mid-year visit to the mentor's institution to refine their research project, grant-writing skills, career planning, and bench training techniques.
AIM 3 Conduct PRIDE 2 Summer Institute: Mentees will participate in the PRIDE 2 Summer Institute to provide additional functional and translational genomics research training and to improve their grant-writing skills. Each mentee will be required to submit a grant application to acquire NHLBI-sponsored or other extramural funding. The GRU-PRIDE program curriculum and mentee success will be evaluated continuously in collaboration with the national Coordination Core.
The Georgia Regents University (GRU) PRIDE program will strategically complement the efforts of the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute to promote diversity in the US biomedical workforce. One of the most important challenges we face in healthcare today is a lack of diversity in biomedical research. Mentoring and training are essential for the retention and recruitment of underrepresented faculty in academic medical institutions. The PRIDE Summer Institute at GRU will address these challenges by offering a mentored research development experience in functional and translational genomics for junior scientists. They will learn to design competitive research projects to help them achieve their fullest career potential, including successful attainment of extramural grant funding.
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