The Sealy Center on Aging at the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) is a leading center for research on minority health and aging. UTMB has hosted an NIA-supported pre-doctoral and postdoctoral training program in minority health and aging since 1999. In the current funding cycle, we request funding for three predoctoral and two postdoctoral positions. We are proposing several important changes in the focus and activities of the minority aging training program for the next funding cycle. Going forward, the T32 training program will focus on two identified core areas of strengths in minority aging research at UTMB: Hispanic and Latin American health and aging, and disparities in health outcomes in older adults. These are areas in which the University has committed substantial resources toward creating new faculty positions and has demonstrated significant success in obtaining peer-reviewed (R01) support. In concert with the recent strategic planning process for the graduate program in Population Health Sciences (where most pre-doctoral trainees are enrolled), we are adopting a revised curriculum for pre-doctoral student education and training. The Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and Provost's Office have made significant commitments in the past year to enhancing the excellence of graduate education and postdoctoral training and research at UTMB. These commitments include the President's Scholars Program to recruit outstanding graduate students and the establishment of an Office of Postdoctoral Affairs that includes organized training and opportunities in career development and mentoring. We have developed a formal structure and related activities to enhance recruitment and facilitate the placement of our trainees regionally and nationally. We believe that these changes will position trainees for leadership positions among the next generation of aging researchers.
Minority older adults have historically greater barriers to health care access, have unique needs, and are on track for future demographic growth. We aim to recruit promising new investigators to research careers in minority aging. UTMB has the largest enrollment of Mexican American medical students in the continental US as well as internationally recognized scholars of Hispanic aging.
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