Establishing a sustainable and CRT-informed overall research environment that more strongly motivates and prepares students for research careers and reduces the leakages that occur is an essential aim in our work to help students to successfully navigate these transition points. Faculty mentoring and research activities can directly influence URM student interest and engagement in health and health disparities research and research careers. Extensive faculty development strategies at CSUN and at our diverse Pipeline Partner institutions will better enable faculty to develop their own research programs and NIH proposals that can engage student researchers, with a rigorous mentor training program ensuring a more culturally competent mentoring approach informed by best practices. Within BUILD@CSUN laboratories, students and faculty members will engage in their ongoing research in a cooperative social environment rather than a competitive one - less hierarchical and more inclusive of input from all members of the laboratory and with attention paid to the social justice implications of one's work. Extensive and multimodal collaborations with Research Partners who are already deeply engaged in funded research in health issues in our local community will elevate the scope and impact of our institutional research efforts, and help to augment our focus on health and health disparities research. Our theoretically-based innovation of establishing a CRT-informed research program will be further advanced by embracing recent technological innovation that enables us to link research activities and expertise on a regional and national scale. Online research-sharing and collaboration tools will not replace traditional in-person mentoring relationships but can support faculty professional development and enhance and sustain the interdisciplinary approach necessary to stimulate advances in health disparities research. Entrepreneurial innovation is also an important component of our proposal. A research and training environment that not only prepares students for traditional research careers but exposes them to the possibilities of commercialization through partnerships with local technology incubators is critical in preparing students for the 21 st century research workforce.
Our program, which focuses on health disparities research training, will directly address issues relevant to the NIH and to societal needs. We are recruiting and training URM students in ways that will change the way that research is conducted because of new research questions and methods.