This is a competing renewal application for a short-term research education program originally funded as a T35 in 2000 and as an R25 in 2010. Our major objective is to continue providing annual short-term research education experiences for highly motivated minority students in order to expose them to biomedical research in the area of pulmonary and cardiovascular disease. Locally known as GEMS (Graduate Experiences for Multicultural Students). Over the past 13 years, >170 UG students participated; >115 supported by the T35/R25 and the rest supported by other programs. Collectively, these students have published 81 manuscripts; >60% have earned terminal degrees or are enrolled in professional school. More than 70% of student participants were under-represented ethnic minorities. The program builds upon our established infrastructure and uses the significant strengths of one of the top pulmonary medicine programs in the country. We continue the tradition of addressing the pipeline by requesting 10 undergraduate and 4 health professional student slots. We will also emphasize the concept of team science that is so critical to success in the biomedical research field. Here, in addition to the usual didactic and hands-on research activities, we propose a new model of training that deviates from the traditional mentor/mentee relationship; a paradigm shift where we introduce the concept of academic coaches. A coach is not intended to supplant the mentor, but rather complement this relationship, since coaches do not interact with the student on a day-to-day basis. Coaches are experienced faculty members who guide the students through a successful career path and stay in contact beyond the summer internship. Furthermore, to ensure student success, we propose to use social science approaches and provide the students with a toolkit that will create an environment, a community of practice, where they feel safe to talk about personal, academic and professional issues and to bond through shared norms and values. We will use traditional approaches to student selection but will incorporate a set of targeted questions in the application that will aidin selection of students highly motivated to pursue biomedical research. We believe that these approaches will continue the GEMS tradition of excellence in training under- represented students while at the same time enhancing student's academic success beyond the summer GEMS internship.
This short-term internship program at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, locally known as GEMS (Graduate Experiences for Multicultural Students) seeks to expose undergraduate and health professional students from diverse and disadvantaged backgrounds to summer laboratory or clinical translational research experiences in order to increase their representation in research related to cardiovascular, pulmonary or hematologic areas. The goal is to create a workforce of health-related researchers who are as diverse as the community they serve. By exposing these students early in their careers, we hope to capture their interest and excite them about the possibilities of biomedical research.
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