The Vanderbilt Biomedical Informatics Training Program, in its ninth year of training grant funding from the National Library of Medicine, proposes a Vanderbilt Biomedical Informatics Summer Research Experience Program for five years of support, beginning May 1, 2011. We are confident that through the Summer Research Experience Program, which will operate as part of the Vanderbilt Department of Biomedical Informatics (DBMI) Summer Internship Program, we will provide undergraduate students and high school students with an intensive exposure to biomedical informatics research, thereby encouraging students to consider pursuing research careers in informatics. Now in its eleventh year, the Vanderbilt Summer Internship Program has offered short-term training opportunities to 60 medical, graduate, and undergraduate students, of which 46 were funded by the NLM T15. The proposed 10-week Summer Research Program experiences will expose participants to the breadth and depth of the biomedical informatics field through: a) applied research projects that are closely supervised by faculty, including instruction in the responsible conduct of research and presentations of those projects to DBMI faculty and students;and b) a didactic curriculum, the DBMI Summer Seminar Series, in which our faculty explore the field of biomedical informatics and a range of career options available to students interested in biomedical informatics. Previous DBMI summer interns have published more than 20 papers with their mentors (11 first-author) and several have continued their projects beyond the summer period. Through the Meharry- Vanderbilt Alliance, a strategic alliance formed in 1999 to enhance the educational, scientific, and clinical programs between the two institutions, the program enjoys success in recruiting underrepresented minority students into our Summer Internship Program's T15 Short-Term Training Positions (minority STTPs). From 2009-2010, an administrative supplement to our NLM T15 supported 11 undergraduate students performing research mentored by DBMI faculty through the ARRA-funded Summer Research Experiences program. We have newer educational collaborations with Tennessee State University and Cane Ridge High School (Metro Nashville Public Schools), through which we will recruit undergraduate students and high school students from diverse backgrounds for the proposed Summer Research Program.
In requesting a total of 56 Summer Research Experience Program positions over five years, the Vanderbilt program seeks to acquaint these young diverse scholars with the exciting informatics challenges in healthcare delivery and biomedical research;thereby, encouraging a new generation to consider pursuing research careers in informatics.