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Global Health Institute
Phone: 520-626-5983
Email: GHI@email.arizona.edu
1295 N Martin Ave.
PO Box 245163
Tucson AZ 85724
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4-week Undergraduate Research Program

 

Background

The UA Zuckerman College of Public Health offers tremendous opportunities to its students for education, research and community involvement thanks to a locale rich in history, research opportunities, and university academic resources. The College ranks among the top five in American Indian and Hispanic graduates and students enrolled among 47 accredited schools of public health, according to recent data from the Association of Schools of Public Health (ASPH). The mission of the Mel & Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health (MEZCOPH) at the University of Arizona is dedicated to promoting the health of communities in the southwest and globally with an emphasis on achieving health equity through excellence in education, research & service.

Global Health Institute (GHI) is dedicated to finding evidence-based solutions to global health problems through the education of tomorrow’s health leaders. GHI is a unique partnership that promotes collaboration between the University of Arizona and partner universities and organizations. The GHI also serves as a platform for the exchange and development of ideas, a place to identify potential research partners, and as a central hub for all individuals or entities interested in exploring the health of our world.

Proposed Global Health Institute Undergraduate Research Program

The MEZCOPH proposes a 4-week undergraduate research program that includes the following educational goals and objectives:

Educational Goal

Our Partner universities seek to ensure a quality education for its students. The Global Health Institute Undergraduate Research Program (henceforth Program) will contribute to their overarching goal by providing their students (henceforth Student) early exposure to research and to an understanding of clinical and translational research currently underway at the Tucson Campus of The University of Arizona.

The Program will provide each student with an increased understanding of the medical and public health system in the U.S. through practical hands-on experiences. The College has extensive experience in short term research and education programs through its participation in Centers for Disease Control and Prevention funded summer research institute to the College of Public Health and the College of Medicine (COM). Research mentorship will be provided by MEZCOPH research faculty. Faculty will provide, along with mentorship to Students in the research program, educational and experiential opportunities to learn in-depth the challenges, assets, and salient issues characteristic of the Arizona-Sonora region and clinical and translational research currently underway in the Arizona Health Sciences Campus in Tucson.

Educational Objectives

The proposed study program will:

  1. Provide an appreciation for the role of clinical and translational research by understanding data collection methods, data analysis and interpretation.
  2. Increase student understanding of the definition, scope and method in clinical and translational research.
  3. Enhance the students’ understanding of the clinical and translational research by exposing students to ongoing clinical and translational projects.

The primary objective of this program is to provide the student with experience in understanding the range of clinical and translational research and challenges in each stage of the research.

Specific outcomes: At the end of the program, the students should be able to:

  1. Describe opportunities for clinical and translational research.
  2. Analyze challenges in clinical and translational research.
  3. Demonstrate preliminary understanding on clinical and translational research data.
  4. Demonstrate basic skills in the development manuscripts for publication in scientific journals.

Educational Plan

  • The rotation will include working with an assigned mentor throughout the entire length of the program. Mentors will provide and require a reading list for the student in preparation for their experience. Mentors will also recommend that the student participates in specific seminars, meetings, and forums related to their projects. In addition, the student will be visiting hospitals and research labs as well as a formal site visit to the Arizona Department of Health Services and the state Laboratory.
  • The proposed program will utilize an approach that will rely on a combination of hands-on research, role model mentoring and collaboration, and networking skills building, providing a supportive environment that maximizes the likelihood of success. Our goal is to provide a foundation and understanding of clinical and translational research.
  • The proposed program is a 4-week educational program that consists of a day of orientation activities; 4 weeks of uninterrupted research and educational activities.
  • The first day will consist of an orientation, which will include a welcome from the Dean, Dr. Iman Hakim; students will take the Human Subjects Protection Training, required of all researchers; and an orientation to the local area followed by a meeting of research mentors.
  • In the final week, one day may be designed for the student to present their research projects using power point. The program, therefore, consists of three components, a one day-long orientation, four weeks of mentored research experience, and one day presenting their research projects to an audience consisting of faculty from the college of public health and other students.
  • At Orientation, UA faculty will provide the student with information on the outline of the program training and logistics. The orientation session will take place during Week 1 and will be the first gathering of the participant, faculty mentors and program administrators. The student will be required to participate in all institution-sponsored activities. These activities are designed to enhance the students’ overall experience and provide a scope of professional opportunities. Spending time in the environments where public health and medicine is most heavily impacted is a top priority. Opportunities for social participation and interaction will be suggested to the student during her off time i.e. weekends. Some weekends will be organized to maximize students’ cultural experiences.
  • Normal education hours are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. The schedule may be adjusted to accommodate specific activities or events, including visits to specific agencies or hospitals. A weekend calendar will be provided with suggestions for trips to national monuments and other cultural and sports events.
  • The students may be required to participate in various institution-sponsored activities. The student will have the opportunity to network with researchers, managers, and practitioners. The student will assist faculty mentors with ongoing research projects or create an independent project under the mentor’s guidance. The student will shadow faculty mentors engaged in specific activities (i.e. Chinese Health Day preparation and implementation and clinical research meetings).
  • Mentors will be responsible for monitoring the daily progress of the student and guiding the student through one-to-one meetings. The student will maintain a weekly journal of their progress and reflections. Weekly debriefing sessions will be scheduled between the student and mentor.
  • The Closing Session will take place during Week 4. The student will finalize and submit the following:
    1. A brief report of their 4-week research experience
    2. Power point presentation—an Individual presentation to accompany brief report

Socio-Cultural Plan

Activities scheduled for weekend social trips can include:

  • Campus Museums
  • Sabino Canyon
  • Finger Rock
  • Botanical Gardens and Zoo
  • Mount Lemmon
  • Biosphere 2

Credit hours equivalent

  • All students will receive a certificate of completion of the program
  • Time spent in the program is equivalent to 5-6 credit hours
  • Partner institution can use the program as part of their curriculum (Independent study / Field study/ Global health research, others) and grant/offer the students the equivalent credit hours

 

Undergraduate Program

Our collaboration with Army Medical University continued with a visit from medical student Lijing Yang who participated in a 4-week research program tailored to increase his understanding of clinical and translational research.

Medical students and a faculty mentor from China’s Army Medical University traveled to our Tucson and Phoenix campuses to participate in a Clinical and Translational Research Program. Students were paired with Dr. John Ehiri, Professor and Department Chair of Health Promotion Sciences, who tailored a research project for each student aimed at enhancing their understanding of clinical and translational research. The program strengthened their appreciation for the role of health services research, as well as their understanding of Arizona's diversity and culture by providing opportunities for exposure to our community.

A medical student and faculty mentor from China’s Third Military Medical University travelled to our Tucson campus to participate in a Clinical and Translational Research Program. The student was paired with Dr. Zhao Chen, Professor and Department Chair of Epidemiology and Statistics, and was provided with a tailored program providing an appreciation for the role of clinical and translational research. The program enhanced the students’ understanding of clinical and translational research by exposing the student to ongoing clinical and translational projects as well as strengthened the appreciation for the role of health services research and understanding of the diversity and culture of our state by providing opportunities for exposure to our community.

Two medical students from The Third Military Medical University College of Preventive Medicine travelled from China to be paired with Health Promotion Sciences faculty at our Tucson campus to participate in a Health Services Research Program. The program provided the students with experience in analyzing challenges related to community engagement in health systems planning and delivery by enhancing their ability to understand data collection methods, data analysis and interpretation, increasing their understanding of health care and public health system characteristics of both national and state-based programs. The program additionally strengthened the students’ appreciation for the role of health services research and understanding of the diversity and culture of our state by providing opportunities for exposure to our community throughout their stay.

A group of medical students from Al-Imam University in Saudi Arabia participated in the Global Health Institute Summer Research Training Program at the University of Arizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health. For the first time in the four year collaboration within our institutions, all of the participating students were women.

The four-week program was designed to introduce students to the public health system in the U.S. and provided a foundation and understanding of the translational and biomedical research that was underway in Arizona. Faculty from the UA College of Public Health used a combination of hands-on experience, role model mentoring, collaboration and networking skills to provide a supportive environment to the students. The students completed research in clinical settings with some of the college’s long-standing community partners, including the Arizona Department of Health Services, Chicanos Por La Causa and Wesley Community Health Center in Phoenix, and the Pima County Health Department and El Rio Community Health Center in Tucson.

For the third year of the Summer Research Training Program, six third-year medical students traveled from Saudi Arabia to be paired with basic science investigators through a Global Health Institute program at the University of Arizona’s Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health in collaboration with the UA College of Medicine–Phoenix.

Over an extremely busy month, the students of Al--Iman University College of Medicine completed CITI and Laboratory Safety training, studied the scientific method and core functions of Public Health before participating in projects with Scientist Mentors. The students acquired hands-on experience in characterizing genes and proteins associated with prevalent diseases, and improving methodology for non-invasive and rapid assessment of radiation exposure among a population and methodology to improve automated disease diagnoses. The Research Mentors benefited from the progress made by the students in each project. The Student – Mentor pairing develops the student’s understanding of the role of research and public health perspective in relation to medicine.

The month-long experience builds to a final closing presentation including all Mentors and invited guests in which each student presents an oral presentation of his research project in relation to the ongoing studies in an electronic poster format. Students expressed surprise and appreciation for the large amount learned during the month, leaving with an improved understanding of the interactions between the public health, biomedical research, and providing the highest possible standard of care for the community. The Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health and the Global Health Institute appreciates the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix Biomedical Sciences Department and the Center for Applied Nanobioscience and Medicine for their participation in the Summer Research Training Program.

Visit to the Grand Canyon

Fourteen third-year medical students traveled from Saudi Arabia to be paired with basic science investigators through a Global Health Institute program at the University of Arizona’s Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health in collaboration with the UA College of Medicine–Phoenix and the UA Cancer Center in Tucson.

Students and faculty gather for a picture in the courtyard of the UA Mel & Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health in Tucson.

The students of Al--Iman University College of Medicine developed an understanding of the interactions between the public health, biomedical research, and providing the highest possible standard of care for the community while participating in projects aimed at preventing cancer, developing treatments for Alzheimer’s disease, and conducting environment exposure assessments. Each student worked closely with research mentors, acquiring hands-on experience in examining disease mechanisms, genetic proliferation and sequencing, and assessing disease biomarkers. In the culminating session, the students orally presented and discussed their research contributions in an electronic poster format.

This was the second year of the successful summer program partnership between the University of Arizona and Al-Iman University.

A group of 10 medical students from Saudi Arabia participated in the new Undergraduate Research Program through the Global Health Institute at the University of Arizona’s Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health in collaboration with the UA College of Medicine-Phoenix and Biomedical Sciences.

The program was designed to introduce the third year medical students from the College of Medicine at Al-Imam Muhammad Ibn Saud Islamic University in Saudi Arabia, to the public health system in the U.S. through practical hands-on experiences in the lab and biomedical and public health research.

The College of Medicine at Al-Imam University is the only college of medicine in Saudi Arabia to have a separate Department of Public Health.

Each student was matched with a faculty member from the College of Public Health and the College of Medicine for one-on-one instruction. Lab experiments provided students with hands-on experience in basic research to understand disease mechanisms, learning about disease biomarkers such as gene sequencing, and innovative therapeutic approaches.“We are a new medical college and the plan from the beginning was to involve our students in research,” said Sami Aldaham, MD, director of Students International Program, at the College of Medicine, Al-Imam University. “We decided early on to send our students to different universities around the world and expose them to other schools of medicine and other cultures.”“It was a joy to interact with students eager to learn not only the academic material, but enthusiastic about Arizona, its people, its diverse cultures and where the parallels intersected with their own country and culture,” said Cecilia Rosales, MD, MS, director of Phoenix Programs at the Zuckerman College of Public Health.

As faculty and students grew to know each other over the course of the month and cultivated trust, the conversations ventured beyond the academic discourse to a more familiar exchange of ideas, said Dr. Rosales. “It’s fascinating how quickly you develop relationships, find common ground, and bond with people regardless of where they live in the world.”

“This is the beginning of a new partnership between the University of Arizona and Al-Imam University. In the future, we will offer faculty training and joint research. Our mission is a globally trained, interprofessional workforce,” said Dr. Iman Hakim, professor and dean of the Zuckerman College of Public Health and founder of the GHI.