This proposal requests support for fifty, third and fourth year medical students over a period of five years, competitively selected to participate in an elective eight week complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) research rotation at the University of North Texas Health Science Center, Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine. (UNTHSC/TCOM) The long term goal of this training is to encourage medical students to enter the CAM physician scientist, "pipeline" through short term intensive exposure to a mentored, hands on, hypothesis driven research project, research didactics and development of research presentation skills. Special recruiting efforts will be directed towards the brightest and most motivated students with emphasis on minority recruitment. The first component of the Complementary and Alternative Medicine Short Term Research Rotation (CAMSTRR) is sixty-four hours of general and CAM specific research methodology course work presented by research faculty. Course work is designed to provide students with fundamentals of responsible conduct of research, research protocol development, state of the art research techniques and critical data evaluation. The second CAMSTRR program component is a hands on, hypothesis driven research project with a funded faculty member who has previously mentored students and has the time and desire to serve as a research mentor. The hands on research experience is designed to expose medical students to contemporary research methods and challenges associated with CAM research. Students will also meet weekly with their peers in the program to discuss research progress. The third component of the CAMSTRR program involves scholarly activity through the development of a poster presentation to be made at the UNYHSC's Annual Research Appreciation Day. The increased use of CAM treatments with undocumented efficacies by the general public emphasizes the need for evidence based, hypothesis driven data on CAM modalities.
The specific aims of this project are to identify talented medical students interested in conducting CAM research and provide them with short term hands on research training designed to increase the limited numbers of CAM trained investigators entering the physician scientist pipeline. UNTHSC/TCOM's 80% increase in research expenditures over the last four years provides a stable base of research support, facilities and research leadership for the proposed program.
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