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Lisa A. Hark, Bianca Collymore, Krystal Caraballo, Deiana Johnson, Shayla Stratford, Joseph Malunda, David Weiss, Jacquelyn Thomas; Development of a Clinical Vision Research Training and Mentoring Program for minority undergraduate and graduate students. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2012;53(14):310.
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To develop, implement, and evaluate a Research Training and Mentoring Program for undergraduate and graduate minority health science, medical, and nursing students to enhance research skills by engaging in clinical vision research.
The Department of Research at the Wills Eye Institute in Philadelphia, PA developed, implemented, and evaluated a full-time, 9-week, paid summer research training and mentoring program, funded by the Pennsylvania Department of Health. Students were recruited from Jefferson Medical College, Thomas Jefferson University School of Nursing, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, St. Joseph’s University, and Temple University. Students attended research methods lectures, reviewed scientific literature, participated in grant writing, conducted chart reviews, surveyed patients, developed individual research projects, wrote IRB protocols, and met with research mentors on a weekly basis. Students were administered a 65-item pre/post-test to assess diabetes knowledge and research methodology as well as an overall evaluation of all components of the program on a Likert scale ranging from 1-5, where 5 was the highest rating.
Two students participated during the summer of 2010 and 5 students participated during the summer of 2011. The group consisted of 6 African Americans students and 1 Hispanic student enrolled in nursing, medical, and public health undergraduate and graduate programs. Pre/post-test scores showed improvement with mean pre-test score=62% and post-test score=95%. Students evaluated their overall experience in the Minority Research Training and Mentoring Program as 4.5 (scale 1-5). They learned a significant amount about ophthalmology by working on research projects (4.67) and evaluated that working on their own vision research project was a worthwhile experience (4.8).
This Research Training and Mentoring Program for undergraduate and graduate minority health science, medical, and nursing students has the potential to increase students’ interest in careers in clinical vision research. Currently we are tracking the future career paths of these students and will continue to offer this full-time, 9-week summer program.
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