This competing renewal application requests support for the NIMH Hispanic COR: Training in biopsychosocial research program at the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus. The training orogram is based on the need to produce qualified researchers that can address the mental health and HIV/AIDS(MHA)-related problems facing contemporary society. The general goal is to promote an increase the number of Puerto Rican students admitted to doctoral programs to pursue careers in mental health and HIV/AIDS-related research.
The specific aims are: a) to provide intensive and programmed early research training to undergraduate students to prepare and motivate them for roles in biopsychosocial research;b) to strengthen the biopsychosocial research curricula in psychology, sociology, anthropology, and biology;and c) to provide intensive academic and career counseling to promote entrance into graduate schools. The program consists of five components: 1) A research practicum and mentorship experience designed to culminate in a thesis project;2) A core curriculum designed to provide basic research courses beyond those already part of the undergraduate major;3) Various co-curricular activities consisting of weekly research seminars, research workshops, and lectures;4) Academic and career counseling aimed at supporting students'entrance into graduate schools;and 5) An evaluation of the program. The Hispanic COR Program is now completing its 17th year. To date, the program has successfully accomplished the goal of promoting an increase in the number of Puerto Rican students accepted to doctoral programs to pursue careers in MHA-related research. Ninety-six percent of our COR graduates (N=68/71) have either been accepted to graduate programs, obtained full economic support for graduate or medical school training, or are currently involved in MHA research. To date, 41% have obtained a doctoral degree, 14% have obtained a masters degree, and another 37% are in graduate school and expected to obtain their doctorate degree by the year 2010. In all, the program will have produced 55 students with advanced degrees by the end of the year 2010, 69% of the cohort of graduates expected to obtain their doctoral degree within four years of graduation. In addition;38% have been awarded highly competitive support for graduate school research. The success of our COR scholars suggests that they are on their way to productive research careers. Recently, partnerships with faculty in the College of Natural Science, the Medical Sciences Campus, and the Universidad Central del Caribe have broadened their scope, offering new research training opportunities.
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