Summer Program To Accelerate Regenerative Medicine Knowledge (SPARK)

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Summer Program To Accelerate Regenerative Medicine Knowledge (SPARK)

Public Abstract:
This proposal seeks to create a Summer Program To Accelerate Regenerative Medicine Knowledge (SPARK), which will provide an engaging educational experience for California high school students who come from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds. Our program strives to create a future biomedical workforce in regenerative medicine which represents the diversity of the state of California. We will recruit 50 high school students (10 per year) from disadvantaged backgrounds who will participate in an 8-week regenerative medicine summer research fellowship.

The core activity with the summer fellowship includes a mentored research experience where students will work in research labs within our network of regenerative medicine faculty. To complement the research lab experience our students will participate in a focused educational curriculum that will teach the fundamental concepts of regenerative medicine. Within this curriculum, we will integrate important concepts related to the intersection of regenerative medicine with ethics, health equity, and public health. Overall, this program strives to excite students about research, and help prepare them professionally for success as they proceed along the training pipeline towards careers in regenerative medicine.

Along with the summer research experience, students will participate in a coordinated outreach effort which incorporates patients, families, and their local communities. Students will spend time shadowing physicians in clinic to help students appreciate the diseases and challenges our patients experience. Engaging family is crucial to student success, and we will incorporate student families throughout the summer program. To help connect our SPARK program with our local community we will have SPARK students teach elementary school students about fundamental concepts related to regenerative medicine. Together, these outreach efforts strive to create an impactful and lasting connection between our program and our local community.
Statement of Benefit to California:
The Summer Program To Accelerate Regenerative Medicine Knowledge (SPARK) seeks to provide stimulating research education opportunities for high school students in the state of California. This program focuses on students who come from low-income families or live in socioeconomically disadvantaged communities - who often do not have access to summer internship programs. Success with this program will help create a future biomedical research workforce that represents the diversity of California’s population.