The Department of Preventive Medicine of Mount Sinai School of Medicine proposes to develop the Short-term Training Program for Minority Students. The goal of the Program is to nurture minority students'interests in science and medicine by enhancing their research capacity in a way that supports multidisciplinary education using community-based strategies to reduce cardiopulmonary diseases, which are highly prevalent in local minority communities. The proposed program will build on an existing program that has provided training in environmental health sciences research for minority students, offered career mentoring and guided many participating students after the completion of the Program towards achieving their professional goals. The existing program received national recognition as a model for training minority students and had continued support from the NIEHS for 15 years. Upon cancellation of the NIEHS program due to end of the funding stream, the Principal Investigator seeks support from NHLBI to continue the program. This transition is seamless as the program already had a strong focus on respiratory disease in community settings, an area of expertise of the principal investigator. The current proposal builds on the most effective features of the previous program and counts with strong institutional support from members of the department, many of whom have strong research interests in community and occupational pulmonary health. In addition, the program will be enhanced by collaboration with other educational programs at Mount Sinai that will expose students to a wealth of opportunities and career options. This will be achieved by offering training opportunities that bridge the gaps between academic disciplines.
Specific aims are: 1) To select, train and nurture a cadre of underrepresented minority students and to motivate and support them in pursuing careers in the health fields;and 2) To provide students who participate in the program with long-term mentoring and guidance throughout the length of their careers. The Short-term Research Training Program fits perfectly within the portfolio of funded grants that the Principal Investigator currently directs and is an integral part of the life of the Department of Preventive Medicine at Mount Sinai. Institutional support is evidenced by the continued commitment and participation of the faculty and program director. It is also evidenced by the creation of other related training programs that are available for students at different educational levels. The program will lead to the training and mentoring of 20 minority students in the health sciences related to community and occupationally-based pulmonary disease.
The Department of Preventive Medicine has a long history of providing short-term training and mentoring for minority students. Upon the end of the funding stream for that program, the department is seeking to continue to support minority students by re-focusing the program on respiratory illness that affect communities, such as asthma, and occupationally-induced pulmonary diseases such as those observed in workers exposed during the World Trade Center disaster. It is expected that students will be better prepared to pursue careers in health research after the completion of this program.