News Global Health Center Chronic Disease

Institute’s Summer Research Program adds new RADIANCE track

Written by Kim Furlow, communications manager for the Institute for Public Health

In the U.S. and globally, cardiovascular disease disorders (CVD) such as high blood pressure, heart attacks and heart failure are leading causes of death. Hematologic disorders, which involve conditions such as platelet disorders, bleeding and clotting syndromes, and hemoglobinopathies, also result in high disease burden (the impact of a health problem as measured by financial cost, mortality, morbidity, or other indicators). Racial and ethnic disparities in diagnosis and treatment of both CVD and hematologic disorders are highly prevalent. There is also a great need to increase the number of health care workers from under-represented backgrounds.

Beginning October 14, undergraduate and health professional students (those attending health-related professional schools) from diverse backgrounds across the U.S. can apply to participate in a Institute for Public Health Summer Research Program track. The “NHLBI R25 Short-Term Research Education Program to Enhance Diversity in Health-Related Research”, more commonly known as the “SummeR reseArch DIversity ProgrAm iN Cardiovascular Disease & HEmatology”, or RADIANCE, officially launches on June 5 and continues through July 28, 2023. RADIANCE will focus on enhancing participants’ skills so that they understand the challenges and opportunities needed to become successful researchers in these particular disorders. The new track is the third added to the summer program’s current Public and Global Health, and Aging and Neurological Diseases tracks.

During the 40-hour program week, RADIANCE students will work side-by-side with WashU mentors on projects focused on cardiovascular disease (CVD) and hematologic disorders.

Students must fit one or more of the following eligibility requirements to apply:

  • Individuals from racial and ethnic groups who are underrepresented in health-related sciences on a national basis*
  • Individuals with disabilities
  • Individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds
  • Individuals must be an undergraduate or health professional student actively enrolled in an accredited university or accredited health professional school**
  • Individuals must have successfully completed at least one undergraduate year at an accredited university (including baccalaureate schools of nursing) or have successfully completed at least one quarter or semester at an accredited health professional school**

*The following racial and ethnic groups have been shown to be underrepresented in biomedical research: Blacks or African Americans, Hispanics or Latinos, American Indians or Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders.

**Includes accredited schools of medicine, optometry, osteopathy, dentistry, veterinary medicine, pharmacy, allied health professions, and public health

Specific information about underrepresented populations in the U.S. can be found here.

The RADIANCE program aims to enrich the pool of students from nationally-underrepresented backgrounds to enhance the development of a diverse workforce in the mission areas of the National Health, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI). The NHLBI grant will also allow us to enhance the breadth and depth of our existing Summer Research Program.

Victor Dávila-Román, MD, RADIANCE program director and Global Health Center co-director

Dávila-Román added a note of personal gratitude to the Washington University RADIANCE leadership committee and more than 25 faculty, who helped develop the program and will help ensure its success. Committee leadership includes Jacaranda van Rheenen, PhD, RADIANCE co-director and Global Health Center manager; Allison King, MD, and Jorge Di Paola, MD (pediatric hematology); Lisa de las Fuentes, MD, Angela L. Brown, MD, and Karen Joynt-Maddox, MD (cardiology).

During the eight-week program, students receive a stipend, travel expenses and housing in St. Louis and will participate in the following:

  • A week-one bootcamp in which attendees will participate in lectures and learn about clinical trials, scientific writing, ethics in research, biostatistics and more
  • A period of six weeks in which students work in the lab with their mentors and attend weekly group meetings, seminars and plan their final presentation
  • A final week consisting of the Capstone program during which students present a wrap-up of their projects and summer experience

The application period for the 2023 Institute for Public Health Research Program is now open. Additional program and application materials can be found here.

This program is funded by the National Health, Lung and Blood Institute.