We propose to establish a Short-term "Research Education Program" to Increase Diversity in Health-Related Research, that aims to increase the number of underrepresented undergraduate and health professional students interested and engaged in health disparities research, particularly focused on reducing cardiovascular disease (CVD) in Latino populations. The program will become part of our new NHLBI-funded (P50) Center for Population Health and Health Disparities (CPHHD), and it will be integrated into the CPHHD's current Training and Career Development Program. The UCLA CPHHD is conducting intensive home and neighborhood environment interventions to improve the food and physical activity landscape in East Los Angeles, California (East L.A.), and it uses interdisciplinary methods to understand and intervene on CVD disparities in this low-income, high-risk Latino community. The focus of the education and training is to create a new kind of health disparities researcher, who considers the micro, individual, family, systems and community level factors that contribute to CVD disparities in Latino populations and integrates bench and social science approaches. Our proposed program will take advantage of the CPHHD's interdisciplinary team of investigators from the fields of physiology, epidemiology, psychology, psychiatry, nutritional sciences, health promotion, health communications, biostatistics, and media and the arts. Over the course of the five years of the program, we will recruit and select 40 underrepresented students from the UCLA undergraduate program and from the UCLA Schools of Public Health, Medicine, Nursing, and Dentistry, as well as from other local universities, such as the University of Southern California (USC), to participate in the program. Each summer, four dyads comprised of an undergraduate student and a health professions student will be partnered with UCLA CPHHD investigators. Students will receive intensive one-on-one mentoring and will participate in seminars and workshops focused on health disparities research and policy, health professions preparation and training and career development, and they will be expected to write a report and present their work to the CPHHD investigators and at scientific and professional meetings. It is our expectation that the majority of the students will choose to enter a health professions program or research career focused on health disparities. We will conduct both process and outcome evaluation to determine program success.
There is strong need to increase the number of underrepresented students who are interested and engaged in conducting health disparities research. The proposed Short-term Research Education Program to Increase Diversity in Health-Related Research aims to increase the number of underrepresented students who will conduct Latino based cardiovascular research and the number of underrepresented students who enter health professional programs and pursue careers in health disparities research.
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