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2015 Pilot 5 of 6

University of Utah Mentorship Program for Native American Research Internship Graduates

Principal Investigator: Maija Holsti, MD, MPH
University of Utah

American Indian/Alaskan Native (AI/AN) have the lowest representation in the biomedical sciences in the U.S. On average, only 67% of AI/AN students graduate from high school and AI/AN represent only 1% of matriculated students at all degree granting institutions in the U.S. AI/ANs represent 0.6% of the biomedical work force; 0.3% of physicians and medical school faculty; and 0.3% of the science and engineering workforce.

In 2010, the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Utah developed the Native American Summer Research Internship (NARI) program with the goal of increasing AI/AN representation in the biomedical sciences. The NARI Program provides research, cultural, and professional mentorship and training with committed community members and renowned research scientists. The NARI Program is supported by two NIH R25 grants supporting AI/AN students interested in basic, clinical, and translational research in heart, lung and blood research (NHLBI: R25HL108828) and AI/AN students interested in minority health and health disparities (NIMHD: R25MD006781). We propose to enhance the NARI Mentoring Program by developing additional resources through the support of the National Research Mentoring Network (NRMN) that can extend the summer experience for the NARI undergraduates. The Specific Aims are:

1: Establish a directed NARI Mentorship Program with research and cultural mentors that extends beyond the summer using Individual Development Plans (IDPs). NARI graduates will meet with their research, cultural mentors and NARI program staff program four times during the academic year.

2: Enrich the NARI Program, the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) and the Society for Advancing Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) partnership by facilitating membership, “Peer” and “Near Peer” mentorship, and travel scholarships to AISES and SACNAS Conferences. NARI participants will become members of AISES and SANCAS. Members of the University of Utah AISES and SACNAS chapters will be paired with NARI graduates who attend schools without local AISES or SACNAS chapters.

3: NARI graduates will partner with the American Indian Resource Center (AIRC), SACNAS, and AISES University of Utah chapters to offer an AI/AN Mentorship workshop during the academic calendar year. The mentorship workshops will offer one-on-one mentor/mentee training and graduate school advising.

Our project is aligned to the goals of the NRMN Professional Development Core. The proposed goals compliment the Core as we aim to provide year-round, culturally sensitive, one-on-one professional development experiences for undergraduate AI/AN interested in biomedical careers through partnership with collaborators at an academic level (e.g., University of Utah AIRC, Graduate School, etc.); community level (e.g., Urban Indian Center of Salt Lake); and nationally with SACNAS and AISES. Mentor and mentee will have opportunities to rate the quality and value of the program on a regular basis.

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