The Alaska Center of Excellence: Research Pathways into Health Professions (The Center) will enable the training of the next generation of Alaskan's biomedical research workforce and will develop a cadre of healthcare practitioners who assiduously incorporate evidence-based principles into their practice as a result of training in research and the scientific method. That training begins in high school, or earlier, and to be successful in encouraging minority students to engage in biomedical research or to healthcare careers that serve underserved populations, provides a continuous pathway through completion of training. Several excellent pathway programs already exist at the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA), the health education campus of the University of Alaska system, that promote these ends, but there is incomplete coordination among these programs. Thus, the broad overall goal of this proposal is to coordinate research and training for biomedical research among the many and varied health career pathways programs at UAA that interface seamlessly with programs in surrounding K-12 schools and healthcare institutions. To that end the Specific Aims of this proposal are to: (1) Build relationships with internal partners at UAA to support undergraduate research in biomedical and health career education programs, and with partner institutions in the U-Med District and throughout the state to allow for extension and coordination of these efforts beyond UAA. (2) Act as a front door for students interested in health careers. (3) Assist in the development of new programs that lead students, particularly those from disadvantaged or minority backgrounds toward health career training that includes biomedical research. (4) Promote expansion of opportunities for training and education in biomedical research by encouraging and supporting writing and submission of new biomedical research proposals.
In response to critical needs in many healthcare professions there has been a rapid increase in healthcare education and training programs at UAA over the past decade. Several excellent programs have developed to lead students into healthcare and health research careers. However, there is little coordination and shared experience among these. This Center proposal will provide the focus to coordinate these programs.