REU SITE: SOCIAL DISPARITIES IN HEALTH, HEALTH BEHAVIOR, AND ACCESS TO CARE

Project Details

Description

This project is supported under the Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Sites program, which is an NSF-wide program although each Directorate administers its own REU Site competition. This program supports active research participation by undergraduate students in an effort to introduce them to scientific research so as to encourage their continued engagement in the nation's scientific research and development enterprise. REU projects involve students in meaningful ways in ongoing research programs or in research projects designed especially for the purpose. The REU program is a major contributor to the NSF's goal of developing a diverse, internationally competitive, and globally-engaged science and engineering workforce. The Social, Behavioral and Economic (SBE) sciences Directorate awarded this REU Site grant to Rutgers University New Brunswick which aims to prepare undergraduate students to conduct research on socioeconomic and behavioral disparities in health by enhancing their human, social, and cultural capital. Reducing disparities in health according to socioeconomic status, race, gender, and other demographic and cultural factors is a major objective of Healthy People 2020, which is used to set national priorities for health initiatives. The program prepares interns to integrate their perspectives into interdisciplinary research teams, so they can help advance knowledge about socioeconomic and behavioral causes and consequences of health disparities.This REU site recruits 8 undergraduate students per year targeting students from first-generation, low-income, and racial/ethnic groups that have historically been underrepresented in research careers. During the summer, interns receive extensive training in social science research methods, statistics, writing workshops, and lectures on health disparities to provide the foundation for individual research projects undertaken with faculty mentors. Interns complete the full deductive research process, and present their projects as research papers, posters, and speeches. During the academic year, they continue working with a mentor, revising their paper for submission to a conference or journal, and participating as a member of the mentor's research team. The Directors teach advising workshops on selecting graduate programs, writing graduate school application essays, and requesting letters of recommendation. (1) The training program prepares undergraduates to fill a crucial niche in addressing critical issues in health disparities by providing their insights into socioeconomic and cultural attributes of communities that disproportionately experience poor health. (2) The program expands and diversifies the racial/ethnic, gender, and socioeconomic composition of the social and behavioral science research workforce to more closely mirror the composition of the overall US population. (3) The program improves learning for all students and researchers in social and behavioral science fields by facilitating discussion of diverse points of view in classes, seminars, and in their mentors' collaborative research teams.
StatusFinished
Effective start/end date6/1/155/31/18

Funding

  • National Science Foundation (National Science Foundation (NSF))

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