In 2015, Massachusetts General Hospital for Children (MGHfC) established the MGHfC Digestive Disease Summer Research Program with the objective of providing short-term support for 10 undergraduate and/or medical students to conduct mentor-supervised independent research in the setting of a research-oriented teaching hospital. Students perform an independent research project focused on digestive diseases on a full- time basis over a ten-week period during the summer months within a laboratory or collaborating laboratory of MGHfC faculty. Collaborating laboratories of the MGHfC are laboratories within the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) community that possess unique expertise in engineering and computational sciences currently being leveraged to support various projects centered on digestive disease research. In addition to conducting an independent project to be formally presented at a summer's end symposium, each student participates in a peer-driven biomedical course entitled ?Immunity, Microbes, & the Mucosa? as well as a panel discussion on careers in biomedicine facilitated by faculty and biomedical professionals. Currently 22 MGH independent investigators with interest in digestive diseases serve as mentors and have hosted students in their laboratories since 2015. An advisory board that includes the program director, associate director, and a faculty member is responsible for overseeing the program as well as recruiting and selecting participating students each summer. The MGHfC Digestive Disease Summer Program has recruited approximately fifty students from regions throughout the United States since its inception and this proposal seeks funding to support the continuation of this program with the objective of recruiting and training at least fifty additional students over the next five years. Several former students are of backgrounds under-represented in biomedical science careers and strategies are in place to continue to recruit this vital cohort of future researchers into the field of digestive diseases. Our goal is to continue to immerse undergraduates and medical students in a structured and intensive research experience that will serve to encourage them to continually seek opportunities to develop their scientific and research skills as they move forward in their careers and inspire them to ultimately become part of and thereby reinforce the biomedical research workforce.

Public Health Relevance

Massachusetts General Hospital for Children (MGHfC) Digestive Disease Summer Research Program is an NIH-NIDDK-funded educational program that was established in 2015 to engage early-career students in projects that explore various aspects of digestive disease and encourage these students to consider a career in the biomedical sciences. Undergraduate and medical students participate in a 10-week didactic program each summer that includes mentored supervision of independent research, faculty lectures, peer-to-peer scientific presentation / discussion, and career development activities. Providing an independent mentor- supervised research experience for students at an early stage is known to be effective at fostering a strong interest and appreciation for biomedical research and significantly increases the likelihood that a student will pursue future research opportunities and eventually enter the biomedical research workforce.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
Education Projects (R25)
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Kidney, Urologic and Hematologic Diseases D Subcommittee (DDK)
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Saslowsky, David E
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Massachusetts General Hospital
United States
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