The goals of this proposal are to: (1) Stimulate quality scientific research among MARC program students as well as other underrepresented and/or minority (URM) students by providing a professional Symposium at which they can (a) learn about medical sciences as they impact health disparities, (b) present their own work in oral and poster presentations, and (c) receive feedback from faculty and mentors who have national academic credentials;(2) Provide informal exposure to scientific methods that will complement and reinforce the students'current basic science research experience with their local mentors;and (3) Familiarize the participating students with health disparities as a focus for scientific research and demonstration projects as well as a context for challenges that they themselves will encounter in their professional growth and development.
Specific Aims are to (1) Conduct 20 Student Mentoring Track programs over five years as part of Regional Symposia addressing Minorities, the Medically Underserved, &Cancer, in addition to other scientific topics related to health disparities. (2) Send a cohort of 20 - 40 students plus two mentors per Project Year to participate in the annual week-long conference on Disparities in Health in America offered at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Texas;and (3) Provide ongoing educational reinforcement and mentoring after the students attend the Student Mentoring Track of the Regional Symposium in their community. Methods: Over the 5-year period of the project, 50 students will participate in each of 4 Regional Symposia annually, for a total of 1,000 students. Student Mentoring Track activities at each Regional Symposium will include (1) roundtable mentoring with one or two professionals and small groups of students;(2) A "Marketplace of Ideas" where students interacted with an wide array of representatives from different federal agencies and national organizations. (3) Student oral and poster presentations;and (4) Selected meetings from the regular Regional Symposium schedule.