This proposal seeks to continue a summer research training program for medical students to learn about the environmental and occupational health sciences. The Division of Environmental and Occupational Medicine of Mount Sinai School of Medicine has sponsored such a program for the past fifteen years with funding from NIEHS and is submitting this proposal for continued funding for the next 5 years. The primary goal of the research training program is to immerse highly competent medical students in a rich research setting pertaining to environmental and occupational health sciences to introduce them to the field, with the ultimate goal of increasing interest in the field among medical students. Specific objectives to achieve this broad goal, include: a) the identification and enrollment of qualified medical students with significant academic potential, especially students of minority groups, into a summer research experience in the environmental and occupational health sciences;b) the creation of a set of meaningful research experiences in which the students engage in critical thinking and assume responsibility in research projects;c) the provision of a broad learning context for participating medical students to enable the students to draw links between their specific research projects and related issues in clinical occupational medicine, toxicology, epidemiology, preventive medicine and public policy;and d) the assessment of the short-term and long-term impact of the program by assessing student satisfaction and changes in their knowledge and skills relevant to the environment health sciences, and by tracking students in the years following their participation in the training program to assess their choices of careers. To achieve these objectives, medical students will work on individual research projects under the close supervision of faculty mentors at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine. The mentors and research projects will be drawn from a spectrum of disciplines in the environmental health sciences, including epidemiology, clinical occupational medicine, toxicology, and molecular biology. In addition, the students will attend a research seminar series, observe patient sessions at the Irving J. Selikoff Occupational Health Clinic Center, and visit a variety of worksites with potential environmental hazards. At the end of the program, all students are required to present their findings at a department-wide seminar.
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