US institutions of higher education have not been as successful as desired at attracting, enrolling, and graduating underrepresented minority (URM) or disadvantaged students who later pursue research and health professional careers. The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) has a number of faculty who engage in research that fulfills the NHLBI mission, with >$1 million in research funding from NHLBI and $0.21 million in research funding from the American Heart Association. Thus, UAMS is well positioned to help address shortfalls in the diversity of researchers in cardiovascular, pulmonary, or hematologic areas by providing an active pool of potential research mentors for undergraduate students. The UAMS Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP) to Increase Diversity in Research was developed in 2012 to increase the diversity of students entering these research fields. This proposal's overall goal is to provide students with mentoring, and networking opportunities; biomedical research experiences; real-life surgical observations; and simulated cardiovascular demonstrations to increase their interest in careers in cardiovascular, pulmonary, and hematologic research. During the first funding period approximately 95% of participants were expected to complete a bachelor's degree, with 75% continuing education in a graduate or health profession program. The program has been successful. In the first 4 years (2012-2015), 100% have completed or are still enrolled in a bachelor's degree program. Of those that have graduated, 68% continued their education in a graduate or health profession program or are still actively engaged in research. To build on this success, the program will implement the following aims.
The first aim i s to recruit a diverse group of undergraduate students who are academically talented and enthusiastic and foster their interest in pursuing careers in cardiovascular, pulmonary, or hematologic research Aim 2 is to support and cultivate rewarding and successful interactions and research experiences among students and faculty mentors. Student will be paired with research mentors at the beginning of the summer and will work with their mentors on producing a paper and presentations detailing their summer research experience.
The third aim i s to develop student leadership and communication skills with formal lectures by faculty from the Clinton School of Public Service and applying a talents assessment.
Aim 4 is to provide educational and networking opportunities to stimulate student interest in research and health professional careers. Students will attend research seminars, be educated on the responsible conduct of research, interact with UAMS students, complete an individual development plan, attend a graduate school and GRE workshop, and be exposed to clinical activities.
The final aim i s rigorous evaluation of the program processes and outcomes. In all facets of research, investigators tend to choose research areas in which they have familiarity and past experience. Exposing students to basic, clinical, and/or translational research will provide a firm introduction and foundation to foster interest in and encourage pursuit of careers in research and academic medicine.

Public Health Relevance

UAMS SURP to Increase Diversity in Research Project Narrative Arkansas is primarily a rural state with a growing number of individuals living at or below the poverty level with limited access to health care. The state's poor, many of whom are members of minority groups, face health care disparities that can be reduced through health care workforce diversity. Diversity among biomedical sciences and health professional students and faculty, which the proposed initiatives will help achieve, is indispensable and will result in improved quality of medical education, improved access to health care for underserved populations, and accelerated advances in medical and public health research, resulting in a reduction in health care disparities and improved public health.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
Education Projects (R25)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZHL1-CSR-F (F5))
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Fine, Larry
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University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
Schools of Medicine
Little Rock
United States
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