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University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences

UPCI Summer Academy Receives Grant to Expand Research Program for Minority High School Students

PITTSBURGH, Feb. 10, 2012 - The University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI) has been awarded $194,400 over three years by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (DDCF) to expand minority high school student participation in summer research programs. With the foundation’s funds, the UPCI Summer Academy will be one of five high school programs at Pitt recruiting students into clinical research positions. The Summer Academy prepares rising high school seniors to further their studies in science, technology, engineering and mathematics and to consider careers in cancer care and research.

“The ultimate goal of our grant is to increase the diversity of the biomedical research workforce,” said Betsy Myers, program director for medical research at DDCF. “While they are the fastest growing segment of the U.S. population, minorities remain underrepresented in medical research careers. We hope that early engagement in the scientific process will motivate students to pursue a career in clinical research or a related field.”

Students accepted into the DDCF clinical research program will work directly with researchers in clinical research training programs to develop, nurture, and support their interest and aptitude in pursuing a career in clinical research.

The Summer Academy offers DDCF scholars eight weeks of didactic and experiential learning at two different sites, The Hillman Cancer Center in Shadyside and the Magee-Womens Research Center in Oakland.

“Our high school Summer Academy is a true labor of love for the cancer researchers and administrators who run it,” said Michael T. Lotze, M.D., vice chair, Department of Surgery with the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and the program’s director. “We are thrilled to be one of nine institutions to receive support from DDCF. Our program is strongly committed to understanding and eliminating disparities in health and health care, and this grant will allow us to expand our program, accepting more students than in previous years.”

The program is currently accepting applications for the 2012 UPCI Summer Academy. Please visit the UPCI Summer Academy website for more information: http://www.upci.upmc.edu/summeracademy/  

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