With an estimated 13 million American adults and children afflicted, mental health disorders are a leading cause of disability in the United States often leading to premature death (NIMH Strategic Plan 2008). In addition, with the worldwide aging of the population, it is expected that the prevalence of neurological and neurodegenerative disorders will increase every 20 years (World Health Organization). Better tools to identify and treat those at risk and the development of novel therapies and approaches, which can alleviate suffering, are urgently needed.
Addressing this problem successfully requires harnessing the intellectual potential of all citizens of the United States. However, currently, individuals from underrepresented backgrounds make up only 2-4% of the neurological sciences professional workforce, disproportionately lower than their 12-16% representation in the overall USA population.
To stimulate interest in a career in brain science and medicine through pre-college exposure to a professional academic research and clinical environment combined with short- and long term mentoring, educational resources and encouragement.
To create a workforce of qualified clinicians and researchers from diverse backgrounds built through a workplace mentoring program.
Mentorship of juniors or seniors from Baltimore City high schools by Hopkins faculty members in the neurological sciences for 8 weeks in the summer. Interns shadow doctors in the clinic and conduct a short-term mentored clinical or basic science research project.
Junior and senior underrepresented students with strong academic records and an interest in science and/or medicine.
Over an 8-week period, provide an immersion experience in a specific area of brain medicine and research in which students will create individual career development plans, learn about and employ the scientific method in the responsible conduct of research, gain critical thinking skills, and interact with and be mentored by Hopkins faculty in a professional workplace environment.
To increase in a significant way, the pool of qualified underrepresented candidates in the neurological sciences and medicine by 10 years post-internship through career-long mentoring and sponsorship.