This is a renewal application for short-term training for students in health professional schools. The overall objective of this proposal is to stimulate research interests in talented veterinary students and to expose them to opportunities inherent in a research career. The program will provide research training opportunities for veterinary students in the following biomedical research areas: digestive diseases, infectious diseases, nutrition/cardiovascular diseases, reproductive biology/neuroscience, respiratory diseases, orthopedics, nutrition and obesity, international/wild life medicine, emergency and critical care and oncology. This program is specifically designed, based on experiences gained from training 489 veterinary students over the last 25 years, to introduce students to active biomedical research environments and to train them in following specific areas: critical evaluation of published data, development of hypothesis, preparation of research proposals, experimental designs, research ethics, analysis and organization of data, and oral and written presentations of results. The proposed program will accept 20 students per year, and the students will be selected on a competitive basis. All first and second year veterinary students (currently 192) will be eligible to submit a research proposal using a standard format with input from a program faculty of his/her choice. The submitted proposals will be evaluated and ranked in order of merit by a faculty committee using predefined criteria. Apart from the scientific merit of the proposal, preference will be given to underrepresented minority students, and students who exhibit willingness to continue to conduct research beyond this training period. Training during the months of June, July and August will take place in established laboratories with ongoing projects supported by appropriate level of funding. Each trainee will be required to attend journal clubs, seminars and interactive workshops on responsible conduct in Research, submit a written report and make an oral presentation at the annual veterinary student research day. Trainees will be surveys to determine the short-term and the long-term impacts of the program in stimulating research interests and engagement in biomedical research following this short-term training period.
There is a crucial need for veterinarians with research training to participate in basic as well as translational research to improve human and animal health. Veterinarians trained in biomedical research need to acquire the scientific skills and technical training together with the conceptual framework to participate both as independent researchers and collaborators to meet the projected national research needs in clinical and basic research. Most veterinary students choose to enter private practice after completion of their medical training. Although a number of them aspire to conduct research to enhance our understanding of various disease processes and to devise ways to provide better care and cure, they lack the necessary research background. As a result, they are often intimidated and shy away from actively participating in research activities. The proposed short-term training for veterinary students is the first step in getting veterinarians trained in a research career. Hands-on experience, even for a short duration, can dramatically enhance their desire and confidence in pursuing research activities.
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