Mississippi is among the leaders in mortality due to heart disease, stroke, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, and kidney disease. Mississippi also has the greatest health care disparities in the country along with limited extramural research support necessary to recruit and retain top biomedical researchers that can address these important issues. These widening health care disparities affect underrepresented minorities, including African Americans and Hispanic Americans, who are disproportionately affected by heart disease, stroke, diabetes, nephritis/nephrosis, hypertension and hypertension related renal diseases. Therefore, a unique opportunity exists in Mississippi for building diverse research infrastructure to investigate mechanisms and new treatment options for cardiovascular and renal diseases at the very location where they are most prominent in the United States. This proposal will implement a summer research program in the state of Mississippi that will serve as a pipeline to increase the participation of individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds and underrepresented minorities in hypertension, renal and cardiovascular related research. The University of Mississippi Medical Center's (UMMC) Cardiovascular and Renal Research Center (CRRC) has a long history of excellence in cardiovascular and renal research. The mission of the CRRC is to prevent and reduce death and disability from diseases of the heart and circulation through excellence in basic and clinical research, education, and improved patient care. One of the major goals of the CRRC is to provide mentoring and training to develop the next generation of cardiovascular and renal researchers. The current proposal represents a critical component of the mission to train and mentor cardiovascular and renal researchers. It will capitalize on the expertise of a strong group of basic science and clinical investigators in cardiovascular and renal research at UMMC to implement a program to promote Diversity in Hypertension and Cardiorenal Researchers (DHCR). This will become a robust pipeline by using targeted recruitment at local undergraduate institutions and by utilizing community outreach to increase the visibility of health-related research professions as an exciting career choice among underrepresented minorities. The overall objective of this training program is to provide career and education mentoring along with state-of the art cardiovascular and renal research training experiences to individuals with disadvantaged and underrepresented ethnic or racial backgrounds in the cardiovascular and renal sciences. Undergraduate students from disadvantaged and underrepresented backgrounds will participate in this program that has the following aims: (1) To provide a multi-disciplinary training and mentoring experience in cardiovascular and renal research. (2) To provide students with professional skills training geared towards promoting careers in health-related research professions. (3) To develop an educational outreach program that will reinforce and build the pipeline to support a diverse workforce.
Mississippi is among the leaders in health disparities in cardiovascular diseases that disproportionately affect individuals from disadvantaged and underrepresented racial and ethnic populations. At the same time, Mississippi lags in the development of a robust pipeline of biomedical researchers that can address these important issues. This grant will establish a summer research training and mentoring program in cardiovascular research for undergraduate students from disadvantaged and underrepresented racial and ethnic populations in Mississippi.