Grant Award Details
- This COMPASS program will train 18 students (three cohorts of six trainees each) in the fundamentals of stem cell research. In the required stem cell science courses, undergraduate trainees will gain the lab skills required to work on guided research projects in UCR host labs. In addition, this program adds to UCR’s stem-cell training via its focus on the acquisition of tacit knowledge.
Grant Application Details
- Research Training and Mentorship Program to Inspire Diverse Undergraduates toward Regenerative Medicine Careers (RAMP)
RAMP belongs to a university that is situated in a medically-underserved region of California. And while this region also lags behind most of California in terms of economic opportunities, it is also demographically diverse. Given the local needs, our university strives to put special value on those student accomplishments that provide value for communities. RAMP has been designed with this spirit in mind. That is, as long as students’ home communities continue to face issues like medical hardship, student success will remain incomplete (as will the success of university that educated them). With this dynamic in mind, CIRM’s COMPASS grant is a rare opportunity to align the interests of individual students with those of their communities. In fact, RAMP highlights the responsibilities of our university and our state. The citizens of our area face medical hardships—both as a result of an impoverished healthcare infrastructure and from diseases that are currently difficult to treat. It is our responsibility to use programs like COMPASS to attack the two sides of this problem. RAMP is well situated to do that: our university’s demographics give us a strong pool of diverse applicants to draw from and our stem-cell research program is on the cutting edge of medical research. Moreover, RAMP undergraduates who graduate into healthcare, academic, or policy careers will contribute to the diversification of those industries. Of those three, healthcare is the most obvious industry that would have meaningful impact on our region. If our university develops healthcare treatments and graduates more doctors who stay local, that’s a success. But if a substantial portion of those doctors already call this area home, that’s another kind of success. Patients often lack culturally responsive healthcare. Although that phenomenon is not always easy to quantify or measure, it is yet another barrier to an already underserved population. IT will take years, if not decades for RAMP’s capacity to affect this problem to be fully actualized. However, there are smaller ways that we contribute to building the pathways towards that future: e.g., our university’s program that supports medical school applicants has promised to include any RAMP students interested in that path; our patient outreach events put students out in those communities now, not in some hoped for future. RAMP will thus have meaningful effects on its California region now and in the future. And while we develop this program’s interventions, we will actively seek the community’s input and feedback: for instance, in the third year of the program, we plan a public workshop to assess RAMP effectiveness. This workshop will enable us to strategize how to continue to develop, and expand on, this type of work going forward. It will also be an occasion for RAMP to offer a public account of its work, which is especially important for those local communities that have a stake in it.