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The Institute for Public Health 2023 Summer Research Program kicks off with new research track, 34 trainees

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

The Institute for Public Health Summer Research Program launches this month with three tracks of study. This year, the program offers established tracks in Public and Global Health and in Aging and Neurological Diseases, and a new RADIANCE track in cardiovascular disease and blood disorders. Each summer, the program is open to students who seek challenge, research and experience, and the opportunity to explore and grow academically in a diverse environment. The institute accepts participating students by application and the program is presented between June and July.

The 2023 program welcomes 10 students to the Public and Global Health Track and 12 in the new RADIANCE track, while 12 students will participate in the Aging and Neurological Diseases Track. In all, more than 120 students from across the U.S. and Ireland applied for the 2023 program.

Students in the Public and Global Health Track will attend presentations on topics such as biostatistics; environmental research; epidemiology; race, ethnicity and health disparities; health policy and economics; and community engagement. They will spend a large part of their program working with volunteer WashU mentors, who are experts and educators in their field, working in labs or on projects pertaining to current public health and global health issues. Students will engage with such project topics as pediatric asthma related to St. Louis industrial pollution; sexual risk-taking behaviors in Uganda; global oncology care; and, HPV vaccination strategies for adolescents in Zambia. The cohort will also visit areas of St. Louis and learn more about the diverse nature and health inequities within our community.  

Sponsored by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, the RADIANCE track will expose trainees to the exciting fields of hematology and cardiovascular disease, which represent major causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Now in its 10th year, the Public and Global Health track is supported by private donors and focuses on important public health issues. 

Victor Dávila-Román, MD, FACC, FASE, director of the Global Health Center at the Institute for Public Health

The Public and Global Health and RADIANCE cohorts and Summer Research Program Leadership pose for a group photo on their tracks’ first day

This year, to wrap up the Public and Global Health Track students will deliver a presentation about their summer projects and experience followed by a dinner with mentors and program leadership. Read about previous Summer Research Programs in the Public and Global Health Track.

Students in the new Summer Research DIversity Program in Cardiovascular Disease & Hematology (RADIANCE) track will enhance their skills in the challenges and opportunities needed to become successful researchers in cardiovascular and blood disorders. Students will work side-by-side with WashU mentors on their respective projects for eight weeks while learning about clinical trials, scientific writing, ethics in research and other useful topics. They’ll also wrap their program with a final presentation of their projects and summer experience.

The Aging and Neurological Diseases Track features seminars, work in labs and connections with older adults and aging specialists at various St. Louis community organizations. Students also submit blog posts about their program experiences.

Program Director, Brian Carpenter, PhD, said he looks forward to meeting this summer’s cohort.

We have a top-notch group of students from a wide range of educational institutions. In addition to our weekly seminars and learning opportunities, students will be getting deep, hands-on experience in neuroscience research labs, to expand their skills and further develop their professional identity as emerging scientists.

Brian Carpenter, PhD, co-director of the Harvey A. Friedman Center for Aging at the Institute for Public Health
A student in the Summer Research Program Aging & Neurological Diseases Track discusses his abstract with guests at the 2022 poster presentation

The student cohort and their mentors focus on topics such as aging, Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, stroke and Parkinson’s disease. Among the seminar topics in which students will engage are age-friendly & dementia-capable health systems, racial equity in Alzheimer’s disease research and physical therapy after a stroke.

The Aging and Neurological Diseases track will conclude with a poster symposium summarizing the students’ summer research. Read about previous Summer Research Programs in the Aging & Neurological Diseases Track.