Health disparities present significant difficulties for most minority populations. It has been documented that increasing the numbers of well-trained minority researchers may help to reduce disparities. In an attempt to address the problem on health disparities in cancer, a Partnership was established between the University of the District of Columbia (UDC) and the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center (LCCC) at Georgetown University Medical Center in 2001. The Partnership emphasizes research, education, and community outreach. Many benefits have been derived at both institutions. The educational impact provided by the Partnership on UDC has been monumental. We will build on this strength in this proposed project, the development of the Advanced Research Training Corps (ARTC). Through ARTC, we propose to assist in alleviating health disparities through engaging undergraduate students and faculty from the University of the District of Columbia,(UDC) a Minority Serving Institution, in a rigorous teaching and mentoring program which will include Biotechnology laboratory studies for graduate school credit, pedagogical and scientific workshops for faculty, distinguished invited speaker lectures, and laboratory internships in active research settings at UDC, Georgetown University, the Biomedical Research Institute, and government settings. We will mentor and train 25 undergraduate students recruited from the Minority Access to Cancer Research (MARC), Science, Technology and Mathematics (STEM) and Louis Stokes Alliance Minority Program (LSAMP) each academic year. In addition, ARTC will organize and present laboratory based instruction to 25 selected students prior to the National Institute of Science (NIS) meeting held every March. In addition, a distinguished lecture delivered by an accomplished molecular biologist or Nobel Laureate will be organized for all attendees of the NIS meeting. Importantly, UDC and LCCC faculty and other ARTC mentors will be trained in modern pedagogical approaches and assessments as well as modern techniques in Biomedicine presented by the LCCC Shared Resource laboratories. Our experiences in training students who have selected biomedical research careers are extensive, and we are assured that combining the talents and resources of a minority serving institution, a comprehensive cancer center with previous experience in training URMs and the BIOTRAC staff who has trained many scientists and graduate students in cutting edge research in a series of workshops and short courses, assures our success in this venture to attract and support minority researchers who will go forward in graduate studies and careers in Biomedicine.
The implementation of The Advanced Research Training Corps (ARTC) proposed here is a natural progression of the cancer research partnership between UDC and LCCC, established in 2000, to address the heavy cancer burden among African American in the Washington, D.C Metropolitan Area. The ARTC will provide a pipe-line of rigorously trained undergraduate students by providing the support in Biotechnology that allows students to build confidence to successfully pursue more advanced degrees ins Biomedicine. Faculty will be trained to excel and assess their teaching of modern techniques to students with the goal of increasing the number of minority students pursuing careers in cancer research in an attempt to address health disparities.