July 29, 2016
As the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health’s summer undergraduate training program comes to a close this week, participants and mentors are celebrating another season during which a diverse group of motivated young men and women were provided with opportunities to develop skills in public health research.
The 2016 training program, scheduled June 5–July 29 on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus, is led by Trinnette Cooper, MPH, CHES, coordinator for diversity programs and recruitment at the Gillings School.
The summer undergraduate training programs, which reflect the Gillings School’s academic partnerships with two historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), include Morehouse College’s Project IMHOTEP and North Carolina Central University’s Partners Program.
Project IMHOTEP, named for an ancient Egyptian scholar thought to be history’s first architect, engineer and physician, is an 11-week internship designed to increase the skills and knowledge of college juniors, seniors and recent graduates in biostatistics, epidemiology, and occupational safety and health.
Two weeks of intense academic training at Morehouse College, in Atlanta, is followed by nine weeks of hands-on public health research experience with experts at the Gillings School. The latter experience includes workshops, support and consultation in data analysis, and project-related community service.
This summer, eight undergraduates from across the U.S. participated.
The Partners Program aims to increase the number of undergraduates from N.C. Central University who successfully pursue careers devoted to finding causes, cures and prevention strategies for cancer that disproportionately affect minorities, particularly African-Americans.
Leaders from the UNC-Chapel Hill Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, many of whom are Gillings School faculty members work together with leaders at NCCU to lay groundwork for an inter-institutional training program for undergraduates motivated to pursue careers in basic cancer research and in public health.
The 2016 program trained four students from North Carolina Central University.
The students live on campus during their time at UNC-Chapel Hill and engage in activities that promote networking and academic and professional development, as well as personal growth. In addition to participating in weekly journal clubs and preparing and presenting oral presentations on their research projects, students became comfortable with themselves and their colleagues by taking part in confidence- and team-building exercises at UNC’s Challenge Course and enjoying recreational activities in the Chapel Hill and Durham communities.
“The Gillings School of Global Public Health and its Office of Student Affairs are excited to celebrate the accomplishments of these hard-working and disciplined summer students,” Cooper said. “I’m personally very proud of the ways the students developed and became more confident in presenting scholarly arguments. I know we will see great things from them as they continue in the field of public health.”
Cooper also praised the contributions of faculty and community mentors.
“These generous researchers and their teams have contributed in ways that truly are invaluable to the academic and personal growth of these young scholars,” she said.