The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) proposes a Short Term Research Training Program (STRT) that will provide an up to 3-month research experience for up to 24 medical students who have completed at least one year of medical school and are currently enrolled. The short term goal of the program is to provide medical students with a meaningful research experience early in their medical school career. In order to achieve that goal the aims of the program are: (1) To select up to 24 medical students per year who have an interest in a research career and will dedicate 8-12 weeks to work on a research project.; (2) To match the STRT participants to carefully selected, outstanding faculty mentors who will serve as role models and help nurture the interest of STRT students in research; (3) To provide STRT participants with required and optional didactics that will increase the likelihood of a research experience that will provide a bridge to a career as an academic physician; (4) To track the outcomes of STRT to determine the success of the program. The long-term goal of the UNC STRT Program will be to increase the number of medical students committed to a research career in the following areas: digestive diseases, liver disease, nutritional disorders, obesity, diabetes, endocrine disorders, metabolic diseases, kidney diseases, urologic diseases and hematologic disorders. The program takes advantage of unique and considerable institutional strengths in research, including a large number of NIDDK-funded investigators, an NIDDK-funded Digestive Diseases Center, and a broad array of investigators from four different health affairs schools who are located in close proximity to each other. Such an arrangement creates the kind of research environment that will provide the gateway for a lifelong research career.
Relevance: There is a need for physician scientists. Providing a meaningful research experience in the early years of training is often instrumental to motivating these researchers. The proposed program is designed to answer this need.
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