The proposed T35 program will provide financial support annually for up to 24 NYU medical students to spend nine weeks during the first summer of medical school working on NIDDK-related research. The core operational objectives are: (1) to provide students with a pre-selected list of excellent mentors and projects, (2) to create a selection process to identify highly qualified students and optimize the probability that work will lead to publication, (3) to create cohesion among the trainees and the participating mentors, and (4) to acquire data that can be used to judge the success of the program and to modify the program to make it more successful. To accomplish these objectives we have thoroughly redesigned our program, carefully incorporating comments by the reviewers of our previous submission. An internal advisory board (IAB) will advise the Program Director (PD) on selection of mentors, projects and students, and once per year an external advisory board (EAB) will review the program. Each year the IAB and PD will select experienced and successful mentors and solicit from them NIDDK-related projects to be offered to students. Mentors will be a select group drawn from all our basic science and clinical departments. Selected mentors must have an excellent mentoring record and must be doing work highly relevant to the NIDDK mission. An information session for students will explain the program and the list of approved mentors and projects will be disseminated. Mentors will interview students and select a leading student for each project (the mentor is not required to accept any student if none are judged suitable). Selected students will write a proposal with the mentor's guidance and submit to the PD and program staff for final approval. To further enhance the probability that the selected projects will lead to publication, students will submit an updated research plan just prior to starting the summer project that will include a timeline for accomplishments and data generation. At the conclusion of the project students will be queried about their plans for publication and will be required to submit an abstract at a fall NIDDK T35 research meeting that will be attended by the IAB and EAB. Cohesion will be created through weekly meetings of students and faculty during the summer program. Selected faculty will discuss their research and careers, and at a parallel set of meetings students will present either journal articles or works-in-progress. To track the success of the program, students and mentors will be queried at the end of the summer regarding progress in the key research competencies and students will comment upon their plans for further research and academic careers. Follow up questionnaires will be sent to students at the end of the clerkship year, at graduation, and yearly after graduation. The follow up questionnaires will track their publication record, their plans for research and academic careers, and their evolving impression of the T35's influence on their careers. To maximize information retrieved, applications and questionnaires will be collected through the school's electronic portal system (called "ePortfolio") that the students already use to record academic progress.
Many improvements in health care require fundamental discoveries in biomedical research and the application of these observations to patients. Highly trained clinician-scientists play key roles in this process. The purpose of the proposed NYU NIDDK T35 Medical Student Training Program is to provide first-year medical students with an intense and rigorous exposure to biomedical research in areas relevant to the mission of the NIDDK in a program structured to provide practical support and a sense of excitement about research.
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