The U.S. Department of Education has awarded the Wright State University Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology a $250,000 grant to support a Translational Biomedical Training for Underrepresented Minorities Program. The program is an educational partnership between schools in the United States and Brazil to improve undergraduate and graduate education by offering innovative, hands-on exposure to biomedical research in an international setting.
The program encourages the pursuit of scientific and medical careers by students underrepresented in biomedical sciences. A key goal of the program is to better understand and reduce health problems common to this population, such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes. The program will provide innovative research, academic and cultural experiences annually for five to six U.S. students.
The program is led by Mariana Morris, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, and assistant vice president for graduate programs at Wright State University; David Goldstein, Ph.D., professor and chair of the university's Department of Biological Sciences; and Khalid Elased, R.Ph., Ph.D., associate professor of pharmacology and toxicology. In Brazil, the program is directed by Maria Claudia Irigoyen, M.D., Ph.D., from InCor Heart Hospital, University of São Paulo.
The four-year project is an international partnership among Wright State University, Central State University and Cuyahoga Community College in Ohio; Winston Salem State University, Wake Forest University and North Carolina Central University in North Carolina; and Mackenzie University, University São Paulo, University Federal Minas Gerais and University Federal Rio Grande do Sul, in Brazil.
The program will provide:
- Research internships focused on areas of health disparity, primarily cardiovascular and metabolic disease
- An online interactive course, Frontiers in Translational Research
- Workshops in ethics, diversity, presentation skills and writing
- Language training
Pre-exchange training to provide information on cultural issues
"Fewer than 4 percent of minority students in the United States participate in foreign exchange programs," said Morris. "This program will make it possible for more underrepresented students, including those with disabilities, to study abroad, while focusing on diseases such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes that lead to health disparities in both the U.S. and Brazil."