This proposal requests continued support of grant T35 DK007431 for short-term research training experiences at the Medical University of South Carolina for medical students in areas that fall within the broad spectrum of NIDDK mission areas, including diabetes, metabolic diseases, endocrine disorders, as well as the biology and pathophysiology of kidney, digestive, urologic and hematologic diseases. The program provides a 10-12 week research project, under the supervision of an established investigator, accompanied by a set of structured enrichment activities. Tracking data for medical students trained over the past 10-year period indicate that 75% of them pursued residencies at prestigious, academic medical centers where clinically relevant questions can be addressed through research studies. Our NIDDK short-term research training program exposes medical students and other health professionals to a diverse array of expertise, strategies, technologies and questions that underlie many of the most serious diseases affecting public health. The strengths of the program include the expertise of the mentors, basic and clinical scientists working side-by side, a vast array of technology and clinically relevant disease models for studying molecular events involved in disease processes, ability to ask significant questions about these events, and experience with and commitment to research training from bench to bedside. Our trainees will benefit from understanding the critical issues pertinent to preclinical development and implementation of new diagnostics and therapies. The Program Faculty represent foci of research excellence in five broad areas: Diabetes and Complications;Renal, Vascular and Hepato-Pathophysiology;Signal Transduction and Human Disease;Health Disparities and Gender Differences;New Technologies and Human Disease Research. All students are required to participate in a class entitled Responsible Conduct of Research, given the first week of the summer program. Students present their research results at the end of the summer in a Summer Health Professionals (SHP) Colloquium, and again in either poster or oral format at MUSC's Student Research Day in November. Research electives in the medical school curriculum are available for students who wish to conduct a second short-term experience in their third or fourth year of study. The Program is directed by an NIDDK-funded investigator with a medical background, clinical research orientation, and leadership in health disparities research. He will be assisted by a Steering Committee of 6 members representing the basic and clinical sciences from three different colleges. An evaluation plan that incorporates quantitative and qualitative data, meaningful comparisons, and multiple sources of information will be used to guide and inform the program.
The goal of this program is to attract medical students into careers in the biomedical sciences, in fields relevant to the NIDDK. This is expected to increase the supply of qualified investigators who are studying diabetes, metabolic diseases, endocrine disorders, as well as the basic biology and pathophysiology of kidney, digestive, urologic and hematologic diseases, thereby addressing major health problems in the U.S.
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