The intent of this Training Grant is to provide salary support to medical students in the summer following their first year, to enable them to participate in an 11-week, full-time research program supervised by the selected faculty of Columbia University. Our goal is to provide students - with and without prior research experience - an opportunity to interact with the research faculty of this institution and to participate in a basic or clinical biomedical research project. The program includes participation in such a project, supervised student research presentations and a lecture series that includes topics in biomedical research concepts and techniques, as well as a module on Responsible Conduct of Research. A dedicated web portal communicates program information and facilitates interactions among students and mentors. Students who are interested in applying for the NIH Summer Research Fellowship select from a list of faculty members at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons who have volunteered to serve as mentors and who have active NIH-funded (or equivalent) grants in basic and/or clinical sciences. Students apply by submitting to the Research Advisory Committee (RAC) of the Program an NIH-style application. The applications are vetted by the RAC. Participants, past and present, are regularly surveyed, using ad hoc tools, to monitor the program's relevance and impact. The program's record is long and strong. Recruitment of under-represented minorities, among mentors as well as students, is strongly supported by an ongoing commitment of the College and by targeted efforts of the Program.
The program is designed to develop in future physicians at the end of their first year of medical school an interest in, and hands-on appreciation of, biomedical research as a career and as a basis for better understanding the science that constitutes much of the medical literature and medical practice. Some, we expect, will be inspired by this experience, under supervision of a selected faculty member, to pursue careers in biomedical research;others will be enabled to make better-informed decisions with respect to the practical, clinical applications of basic research and to identify clinical problems that might be susceptible to basic or clinical research approaches.
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