As emphasized in recent reports, research training of minority health professionals is a critical need nationwide. In response, the Medical Sciences Campus of the University of Puerto Rico, with NIH support (RR017589), established a successful academic program in clinical research, the Master of Science in Clinical Research (MSCR) Program. In this renewal application, our immediate goal continues to be increasing the number and quality of outstanding Hispanic clinical investigators. A long-term goal of the MSCR Program is to establish research programs that integrate clinical investigations across multiple departments, schools and research institutes in Puerto Rico and collaborations with US mainland researchers. The ultimate goal is to enhance the participation of minority health professionals in clinical and translational research that will have a significant impact on the health of the community, particularly underrepresented minorities.
Specific aims of the application are to: (1) Develop the research capacity of minority health professionals through the Master of Science in Clinical Research (MSCR) Program;and (2) Facilitate successful transition of MSCR graduates to research independence. To further these aims we propose to strengthen the current program by upgrading courses to strengthen didactic training, intensifying research mentoring opportunities, and continuing to evaluate our efforts. These enhanced opportunities will ensure that scholars will participate in ongoing faculty research, research seminars, and national conferences. They will receive publication, presentation, research dissemination, and grantsmanship experiences. Research mentors, chosen from the cadre of Medical Sciences clinical investigators, are fundamental to the success of the MSCR Program. Successful clinical investigators, mainly descendents of minority populations residing in the US, are accessible for long distance mentoring. The advancement of newly-minted clinical investigators will be stimulated by providing administrative, physical, and fiscal support. This career development program is being further strengthened by fostering partnerships with the community, industry and national research-intensive institutions interested in addressing significant questions in minority health issues. The ultimate vision of this Program is to prepare a cadre of Hispanic clinical researchers that will be ideally positioned to initiate original and important clinical investigations addressing the multifactorial health disparities between minority and non-minority populations.
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