The purpose of this study is to determine how participation in the Native American Summer Research Internship Program (NARI) at the University of Utah can increase science self-efficacy and identity among participants who are college students and of Native American heritage. Across the nation, individuals of American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) descent represent a minority in health science professions. Their limited presence in these occupations has negative implications for the health of the greater Native American population. In order for health trends to improve amongst this population, the NARI program aims at increasing the number of AI/AN physicians, nurses, researchers, pharmacists, technicians, and additional bioscience professionals by providing summer undergraduate research opportunities. The data for this project was collected as part of surveys given to participants of NARI. During the 2019 and 2022 program summers, two surveys were distributed prior to and following the NARI program to assess participants' knowledge and confidence with engaging in lab work, subject areas such as patient screening, data collection, and working with patients in clinical settings. There were 47 participants in total. The preliminary results indicate, participants developed a preference towards working with patients in a clinical setting, gained confidence in skills essential to clinical, translational and basic research and a vision of a career path they can pursue. Overall, this study is critical to understanding how undergraduate research opportunities such as NARI can empower cohorts of Native American undergraduate students to pursue professions in the biosciences and fill the gap in these careers such that the health disparities experienced by AI/AN individuals may be alleviated over time.
University / Institution: University of Utah
Format: In Person
SESSION A (9:00-10:30AM)
Area of Research: Social Sciences
Faculty Mentor: Akiko Kamimura