Overcoming the cultural and socioeconomic barriers that prevent minority students from considering agraduate career is a challenge in the Lower Rio Grande Valley (LRGV), South Texas. A student's decision ishampered by fear to leave their family, lack of role models with advanced degrees that provide confidencefor success, and lack of knowledge on how biomedical studies are conducted.Recognizing these barriers to education a training core is seen as key component to the proposed Centerof Excellence on Diabetes in Americans of Mexican Descent.
The aims of the Center of Excellence are toconduct research on the physiologic progression to diabetes and its complications among MexicanAmericans, and to develop diabetes prevention strategies and test innovative approaches to effectiveinterventions in a minority population severely affected by type 2 diabetes. This Center proposes anadministrative core, a research core including three research projects and two pilot studies, a training coreand a community engagement core.
The aim of the training core is to provide research training opportunities and resources that will motivatestudents to pursue graduate careers in biomedical sciences. We propose to provide three training positionseach year, two for undergraduates and one for a masters or doctorate student. Trainees will work under thedirect supervision of faculty from either The University of Texas at Brownsville (UTB) or The University ofTexas Health Science Center at Houston, School of Public Health in Brownsville (UTSPH-B), who areinvestigators in this P20, and who lead diabetes-related research projects. As part of their training, studentswill also participate in a number of activities, including attending the Border Health Seminar Series, attendingand participating in the weekly journal club, receiving training courses including one for preparation of theGraduate Record Examination, and visiting the Texas Medical Center in Houston to attend Research Day,meet graduate students, and interview with Admission's Committee members of the Graduate School ofBiomedical Sciences program. We anticipate that these unique opportunities for students from the LRGV willmotivate them to pursue careers that will prepare them to lead the local research programs aimed atunderstanding and controlling the diabetes epidemic that is so deeply-rooted in their community.
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