The aim of the STAR (Short-Term Aging Research) Program is to provide select first year medical students at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine with a structured mentored summer research experience in aging, coupled with didactic and experiential training in the care of older adults. Through this experience, we hope to inculcate the next generation of physicians with the desire to understand and improve care for older adults through pursuit of scientific discovery.
The University of Chicago has a strong and longstanding tradition of conducting innovative interdisciplinary research in basic, clinical, and social sciences, and inspiring and training physician-scientists to perform such research has always been a key mission. The Pritzker School of Medicine sponsors a research training program for medical students during the summer between their first and second years of medical school that is an integral part of our approach to realizing this mission, serving as a formal mechanism to introduce medical students to basic, clinical, and social science research and to the possibility o pursuing a research career in academic medicine. The purpose of this application is to renew support for a Short- Term Aging-related Research (STAR) T-35 program to provide summer training in basic, clinical, and social science research for Pritzker medical students to inspire and prepare them to pursue careers in aging research. Building on the established processes of the successful Pritzker School of Medicine Summer Research Program, the program will admit nine T-35 sponsored students each year with an additional nine supported by the Pritzker School of Medicine. A cadre of institutionally and nationally prominent principal investigators in basic, clinical, and social science relevant to aging will mentor individual trainees. In addition, trainees will take part in didactic instruction in responsible conduct of research, statistics, cliical geriatrics and an innovative course called Scholars in Translational Aging Research Training (START) Program, which will expose them to concepts in biology, clinical geriatrics, and the social sciences that are central to the study of aging. Through course instruction and experiential learning, STAR graduates will have a mastery of the conduct of research within the context of aging. Through our evaluation and tracking mechanism, we will be able to determine if participants show a greater propensity to continue pursuing research as a career. Given the aging of the population, it is imperative that a new cadre of investigators is prepared to conduct research aimed at understanding and improving the health of older persons. Through the STAR Program, we hope to inculcate the next generation of physicians with the desire to understand and improve care for older adults through pursuit of scientific discovery.
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