In this T35 program, the Greater Boston Medical Student Training in Aging Research (MSTAR) at Harvard Medical School is partnering with the University of Mississippi, Boston University and University of Massachusetts Medical Schools to provide a formal 8-12 week program of training in aging research to: ? Expose medical students to the possibility of a research career ? Encourage and support these students? initial foray in developing a research career in areas important to the mission of the NIA ? Increase the number of physician scientists interested in a career aimed at expanding research in aging ? Educate them in aging research methodologies and research ethics via a structured core curriculum ? Introduce them to the discipline of geriatric medicine For the Greater Boston Medical Student Training in Aging Research (MSTAR), Harvard Medical School is the core site, and each of the affiliated institutions are structured to achieve the above listed objectives. Each of these institutions have exceptional faculty who receive funding from the NIA to conduct research in various geriatric medicine niches including, but not limited to, palliative care, Alzheimer?s Disease and related dementias, and the biology of aging; and offer vast experience in training young students and investigators on the path to becoming independent researchers. The Boston MSTAR and its precursor, RPS/Hartford/AFAR Scholars Program have been successful in meeting these objectives by thoughtfully matching the trainees with like-minded mentors and carefully overseeing students? research progress. Our curriculum is designed to teach basic research skills as well as ethical considerations in the responsible conduct of research and career development for a geriatrician. The program provides opportunities for the trainees to shadow clinical geriatricians to observe the care of geriatric patients in a variety of settings. The program has had great success in encouraging and supporting medical students' interest in aging research and geriatrics. A majority of students have presented their work at national meetings and approximately 30% have published in peer-reviewed scientific journals. These future physician scientists will be well poised to address the research priorities of the NIA. Further, as students return to their medical schools, their experience with this training program has created excitement among their peers to also seek out acceptance to the program.
The Greater Boston MSTAR program was funded in 2010 and currently provides a short-term mentored research experience to medical students with the goal of developing physician scientists interested in aging research. We are currently in our fourth year, of a five-year grant cycle. Administratively, we seek to continue to support current operations, and evaluate opportunities for growth and innovation in the wake of substantial funding cuts and central administrative support from American Federation of Aging Research (AFAR).
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