This proposal describes an innovative Short-Term Research Education Program. The Program was developed using the principles of community engagement and Native elders, faculty, and students were involved in the design. The Program supports the cultural values of Native students and addresses the priorities expressed by Native American focus groups. Our approach encompasses a 10-week summer program that will be available to Native American students from Utah and the Intermountain West. Students will have the opportunity to participate for two consecutive Summers (Summer I and II) at the University of Utah, allowing them to develop sustained mentored relationships with faculty. The Program combines a strong disease-based basic or clinical research experience with educational sessions devoted to research design and methodology, ethics, and skill building, and opportunities for participants to elect complementary experiences including participating in health-related community outreach and shadowing academic and community physicians. When students complete the Short-Term Research Education Program they will have gained research experience, have built a network of support, and developed a clearer understanding of the career opportunities in biomedical science. These students will be better prepared to complete undergraduate and graduate degrees, will be able to contribute to the scientific workforce, and will make a lasting impact on the national research enterprise. This proposal addresses the significant gap in Native American participation in biomedical research. The overarching goal of this Short-Term Research Education Program is to increase diversity of the US biomedical science workforce by supporting the scientific development of undergraduate Native American students through the following Specific Aims:
Aim 1 : Expand and enhance an existing Short-Term Research Education Program for Native American students to provide them with broader opportunities to participate in basic and clinical cardiovascular, pulmonary, and hematologic disease research and to receive educational support services.
Aim 2 : Mentor and train a cadre of Native American students in basic and clinical research who will complete undergraduate degrees, apply for and complete doctoral degrees, and contribute to the scientific work force of the United States.
Aim 3 : Evaluate the effectiveness of the Short-Term Research Education Program on increasing Native American representation in health-related research regionally and nationally.
The proposed innovative Short-Term Research Education Program will begin to address the need to promote diversity in the field of biomedical sciences, by offering up to eight Native American students the opportunity to participate in cutting edge research, clinical shadowing, and community health outreach in the fields of cardiology, pulmonology, and hematology at the University of Utah. The program will offer a broad based research education training experience for 10-weeks (Jun-Aug), per Summer for two consecutive Summers. Students will gain a balanced research experience, a clearer understanding of the demands of clinical medicine, and hands on look at how community health outreach is conducted by participating in this program.