Given the heterogeneity of factors such as culture, acculturation, and socioeconomic status, there is a need for additional research on health disparities and shared protective and risk factors associated with chronic diseases specific to minority subgroups. However, there is an under-representation of minority researchers, scientists and university faculty in the US, which contributes to a limitation in insight among scientists seeking to understand and reverse the negative health disparities experienced by minority communities. It is thus crucial to train and develop minority students to conduct research that will reduce health disparities and at the same time provide students with opportunities to advance their skills in research, academics, and career pursuits to continue to contribute to reducing health disparities. As more minority students and other students underrepresented in research develop the skills to become researchers, there will be greater potential to diversify the workforce and promote culturally sensitive research that encourages the continued inclusion and participation of diverse groups in research studies. The proposed training program, entitled, "Mentoring Diverse Students in Health Disparities Research," will bring researchers accomplished in minority community health research together with undergraduate and graduate students to optimize their chances of research, academic and career success and advancement and prepare students to become the next generation of researchers who will be addressing health disparities. To advance the academic or career development of students, the proposed team will offer a Training and Mentoring Program (TMP) involving a series of educational trainings and mentoring by expert researchers, internship participation in community research, and special research projects focused on minority health and health disparities research. Two cohorts of twenty SDSU students each (30 undergraduate and 10 public health master's level graduate students total) who are underrepresented in health disparities research will participate in the two-year TMP. The ultimate goal of the program is to equip the students with the necessary research skills necessary to pursue higher level involvement in an academic or other career pursuit that contributes to reducing health disparities. The proposed TMP will be evaluated regularly to determine the overall relevance and value of the methods employed. Student and mentor feedback will be used to refine the program to best meet the needs of the participants. Further, portions of the program will be disseminated at its conclusion to allow others who are not able to attend to develop productive minority health research skills using aspects of the training.
There is an under-representation of minorities conducting health disparities research in the US, which contributes to a narrowing of insights among scientists seeking to understand and reverse the negative health disparities experienced by minority communities. Therefore, this training and mentoring program will fulfill a great need by training and developing undergraduate and graduate students underrepresented in research to develop research skills to contribute to the reduction in health disparities and therefore increase minority community members'access to culturally competent health information and care.
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