The University of Minnesota Medical School is committed to the recruitment, enrollment, research instruction, and mentoring of a diverse group of high-quality medical students with aspirations of a career in academic medicine. Based on surveys of medical students, as well as on an analysis by a faculty-driven Medical Student Research Task Force, we identified research training in the summer between years 1 and 2 as the critical opportunity to capture the interests and talents of academically minded medical students. Thus, this T35 competitive renewal application for a ?Medical Student Summer Research Program in Infection and Immunity? represents our plan to continue to provide high quality medical student research instruction and mentorship. Our long-term objective is to significantly increase the number and diversity of medical students that obtain paid employment in medical research, that publish during medical school, and that eventually enter into physician-scientist training pathway residency programs. To this end, we describe herein our activities during the first 5 years of the program (including years 1-4 of this funded T35 grant) and offer the results of our current efforts based on the performance and perceptions of 30 medical student summer researchers. Daniel Mueller, MD, initially developed this Medical Student Summer Research Program in Infection and Immunity, and will continue to lead this T35 training grant. He has a breadth of experience in academic medicine including a) laboratory-based research that includes both fundamental and human-oriented investigation into autoimmune disease pathogenesis, b) medical leadership as a division director, c) an extensive undergraduate and pre-doctoral training record, and d) direct patient care in Rheumatology. Mueller will be assisted by numerous Medical School leaders with records of success in research and mentorship, and will receive additional financial support from the Chair of Medicine and the Dean of the Medical School. A total of 31 outstanding Center for Immunology faculty members will serve as the preceptors for 7 summer medical students in each year of the grant period. Diverse student candidates will be approached by the T35 director on an individual basis, and encouraged to apply to the program. Students entering the program will receive direct instruction in scientific investigation for a period of 2 months. Students will also receive weekly instruction that relates the function of the immune system to human health. Training experiences will include the writing of a formal ?Specific Aims Page? proposal, as well as a ?Progress Report? final summary of their research. In addition, fellows will prepare and present to Center for Immunology faculty both a scientific poster and oral presentation of their work. Finally, trainees will be given the opportunity for longitudinal mentorship regarding the physician-scientist career path throughout their medical school experience. Success in this program will be monitored both through longitudinal surveys of students and training faculty as well as through oversight by both Internal and External Advisors.
There is currently a shortage of medical student trainees who are entering into careers in academic medicine as physician-scientists; furthermore, diversity in the pool of physician-scientist pathway trainees fails to reflect the diversity of our communities. This training program entitled ?Medical Student Summer Research Program in Infection and Immunity? aims to augment medical research-training opportunities and mentorship for a diverse pool of medical students at the University of Minnesota Medical School by taking advantage of the strength of our immunological sciences. With success in this effort, an increased and more diverse proportion of our medical student population will enter into physician-scientist training pathway residency programs.
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