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NIH grant makes STaRs of 8 Wayne State nursing students

DETROIT Eight Wayne State University undergraduate nursing students are gaining unique insight about the research field thanks to a $40,000 grant awarded to the university's College of Nursing and School of Medicine from the National Institute of Nursing Research of the National Institutes of Health.

The "Socio-behavior Training and Research (STaR) Program," led by Xiaoming Li, Ph.D., professor of pediatrics and director of the Pediatric Prevention Research Center in the School of Medicine, and Nancy Artinian, Ph.D., associate dean for research and director of the Office for Health Research in the College of Nursing, will provide participants with skills and experiences not offered at the undergraduate level. In doing so, Artinian says, the students will have a more successful transition to research work environments or graduate studies sooner rather than later.

"Now is the time to get them excited about research and expose them to the many possibilities available in the field of nursing," she says. "We don't want them to get to a doctorate level and find out that it is too late for a research career."

An important goal for the program is to attract nursing students to doctoral education at an earlier age. Research has found that the median age of graduates receiving doctorate degrees is 47.3 years. Earlier engagement would result in increased years for productive teaching and research.

StaR students Lisa Bensmiller of Brighton, Kurt Omadlao of Royal Oak, Roberta Ukavwe of Detroit, Amber Buchholz of Dearborn Heights, Brittany Nelson of Brownstown, Anita D'Souza and Emily Glick of Troy and Cristina Miclea of Rochester Hills are paired with faculty of the College of Nursing and the School of Medicine's Pediatric Prevention Research Center.

Throughout the eight-week program, trainees spend 20 hours a week between laboratory and field work while attending seminars and topical workshops relative to socio-behavioral health research and career development.

The experience introduces participants to every facet of research, from determining focus groups to recruiting participants and collecting and analyzing data. The students receive a $3,000 stipend for their participation in the program, to which they were accepted through a competitive application process.

The students are unanimous in their gratitude at being selected to assist with research on a host of health topics including juvenile diabetes, asthma, HIV, immunization rates and cancer, and say the experience is opening up a wealth of opportunities.

Glick, who plans to attend graduate school, says she is "delighted" to have been selected because the program is giving her a "little bit of head start" in understanding research programs and processes she will encounter as a graduate student.

Nelson, an honors student who is considering a dual Doctorate of Nursing Practice-Ph.D. program, says STaR has been enlightening.

"It is because of this program that professors and researchers know me, and from them I have received amazing advice and opportunities because of the networking," says Nelson.

The students are developing their own abstract studies for submission to research conferences and events such as the college's Research Day or the annual WSU Undergraduate Research Conference. Several are pursuing the publication of their work in research journals, says Artinian.

With the growing complexity of today's health issues, a significant component of the program is educating participants about the importance of working in multidisciplinary teams.

The NIH grant number for this project, "Socio-Behavioral Training and Research (STaR) Program for Nursing College Students," is NR013160.


Contact: Julie O'Connor
Wayne State University - Office of the Vice President for Research

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