The Department of Preventive Medicine of Mount Sinai School of Medicine proposes to continue and expand the existing Short-term Research Training Program for Minority Students. The goal of the Program is to nurture minority students' interests in science and medicine by enhancing their research capacity in a way that supports multidisciplinary education and long-term engagement with mentors. The proposed program will continue to build on experience gained with existing programs that have already been very successful in providing research training, offered career mentoring and guided many participating students towards achieving their professional goals. It will significantly increase te number of minority students from four per year to an average of ten per year, most of whom will receive 24 weeks of training, double the previous training period. The current proposal builds on the most effective features of the program. First, the program is multidisciplinary. Rather than selecting mentors and projects within a particular scientific discipline, the program draws from a very diverse mentor pool. The program includes mentors with expertise in community- based research, epidemiology, public health, global health, occupational health and others. This allows for students with interests ranging from molecular biology to population health to be included in the program. Second, the program has strong institutional support. It was originally founded in 1995 and has been continuously funded since then (first by NIEHS, then by NHLBI), a testament to the dedication and commitment of the participating faculty and the program director, who has directed the program for 19 years. Third, the program sits within a portfolio of other educational programs at Mount Sinai that exposes students to a wealth of opportunities and career options. Finally, the program has provided long-term follow-up of student participants, creating a sense of community among trained minority students, an important connection as students continue to grow in their career paths. This continuity is reassuring as students develop in a professional environment in which people of color are still vastly underrepresented. The program has continued to evolve since its inception. In order to expand and grow, it has developed the following Specific Aims: 1) To select, train and nurture a cadre of underrepresented minority students and to motivate and support them in their professional development. 2) To provide students who participate in the program with long-term mentoring and guidance throughout the length of their careers. It is expected that a minimum of 50 students will have received research training at the completion of this funding cycle, bringing the total number of alumni of the program to 119. A plan for long-term follow-up and strong evaluation strategies will continue to be incorporated in order to support underrepresented minority scientists at all stages in their career development.
Students from minority racial and ethnic backgrounds continue to be underrepresented in science and medicine. This program provides a short but intensive research training program for minority students in a strong academic setting.
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