As program analyst for the Office of Minority Health Research Coordination (OMHRC), I coordinate various undergraduate summer research training programs for underrepresented groups in biomedical research at the NIDDK. I act as liaison to program directors and program managers of various nonprofit, private, or public institutions that participate in NIDDK summer training programs. These research training programs include: the Minority Access to Research Careers U*STAR Program; Gateways to the Laboratory/NIDDK Honors Research Training Program; NIDDK/OMHRC Intramural Summer Internship Program; and the NIDDK Summer Internship Program for students in Alaska. These programs offer opportunities to work in laboratories with a commitment to excellence in both basic and clinical investigation. The basic science laboratories include groups that study molecular biology, structural biology, cell biology, and pharmacology. Clinical investigations involve groups that study endocrine diseases, general aspects of signal transduction, and the genetics involved in a variety of diseases.
In support of the NIDDK’s efforts to recruit and increase the number of underrepresented and underserved students entering into biomedical research, I work closely with many different organizations. I present on NIDDK summer research training opportunities at annual meetings of the Association of American Indian Physicians and the National Hispanic Medical Association. I also participate in several national meetings and conferences, including: the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, American Indian Science and Engineering Society, Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science, Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students, International Society of Hypertension in Blacks, National Medical Association, and Career Opportunities in Biomedical Research.
As a program officer, my responsibilities include coordinating the NMRI. The NMRI is a communication network of biomedical research investigators and technical personnel interested in minority health research, including individuals from traditionally underserved communities. I manage NMRI regional meetings and work closely with senior-level research investigators to develop program agendas. Through the NMRI, the NIDDK elicits recommendations for strategies to enhance opportunities and implement mechanisms for support of underrepresented groups and others in biomedical research. The NMRI advances scientific knowledge and contributes to the reduction and eventual elimination of racial and ethnic health disparities.
I also serve as liaison for the Office and Institute in legislative matters relating to NIDDK’s minority health and health disparities. In addition, I develop annual congressional reports for submission to the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, as requested by the Department of Health and Human Services.