The goal of this training program is to introduce medical students to the concept of scientific research, the principles of scientific experimentation, the proper methods of data analysis, and the interpretation, presentation, and application of research results. This goal will be accomplished by the student working in the laboratory of a highly skilled investigator who has a proven track record in the mentoring of students in the research process and who has an actively funded, peer-reviewed, biomedical research program focusing on cardiovascular, pulmonary or sleep medicine. In addition, all students participate in a didactic series entitled "Understanding the Research Enterprise". As part of this program, the students submit a summary of their experience, write an abstract, give a 5-7 minute "chalk-talk" to other students in the training program, and participate in an oral presentation or poster session (Medical Student Research Day) in which their work is shared and evaluated by faculty and their peers. The top students are selected to attend a national meeting to present their work. The ultimate goal of the program is to provide trainees with an understanding and appreciation of the biomedical research process so as to enhance their practice of medicine and to encourage some members of this select group of students to pursue careers in academic medicine. During this funding period, the program has provided meaningful research experiences for 153 students (128 medical students and 25 dental students), plus 116 additional students funded through other mechanisms. During these years, 5.2% and 39% of trainees who participated in this program were underrepresented minorities and women, respectively. These numbers reflect well the percent of matriculated students (9.1%, and 44%) in the Schools of Medicine and Dentistry in 2009 - 2010. Current trainees (summers of 2006 - 2011) have or will have published 26 abstracts and 29 peer-reviewed scientific papers as a result of their research experience (12 as first author). Since 1994 (years 14-30 of the program and the years for which we have complete abstract and publication data), trainees have or will have published 100 peer-reviewed original research articles and 76 abstracts. Thus over 35% of all trainees from years 14-30 have been involved in published manuscripts or abstracts stemming directly from their training experience. Based upon the successful tracking of the majority of trainees who participated in the program in years 5-20, we have been able to determine that 25% of the medical student trainees are now in faculty positions at academic medical centers. Those who submitted comments all viewed their research fellowship as a positive experience and even those who chose a career in private practice view the research as a valuable component of their training. In summary, the data indicate that this Short Term Training Program has been successful at achieving its goals. Thus, in the present application, we are requesting funding to continue this training program for another five years.

Public Health Relevance

Short Term Training in Health Professional Schools The objective of the proposed training program is to expose medical and dental students to biomedical research and the principles of scientific experimentation. There is a clear need for training additional physician and dental scientists with expertise in understanding the causes of disease and the prevention and treatment of heart, lung, and blood disorders. This training program seeks to inspire more medical and students to pursue research careers and join the ranks of clinical investigators addressing human health issues.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
NRSA Short -Term Research Training (T35)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZHL1)
Program Officer
Scott, Jane
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University of Alabama Birmingham
Schools of Medicine
United States
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