Since it very inception, Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science in Los Angeles has supported the involvement of students and trainees in the research activities of its faculty. In 1995 the College of Medicine and its innovative Primary Care Longitudinal Clerkship initiated a curriculum, requiring medical students to develop, design, and implement research projects on medical conditions commonly encountered in Primary Care practice. This involvement developed into further opportunities, mainly during the summer, to engage students in research.
As a structured summer program, the recent history of SPUR can be traced back to 2001, when the NIH Minority High School Student Summer Research Program was transitioned to Dr. Keith Norris Vice-President for Research at Drew.
The main objective of the NIH program is to provide high school students from communities that are historically underrepresented in biomedical research with meaningful exposure to scientific research with the prospect that this type of experience will interest them in a future biomedical research career. Working with accomplished investigators who serve as the mentors, either in a basic biomedical laboratory, or on other special research projects should, in itself, provide the students with a positive experience. The mentors are asked to encourage students to be involved in a project, or be a part of a project that they could consider their own, and write a report at the conclusion of the summer program. An important part of scientific research is the ability of the investigators to share their efforts and findings with their colleagues, and the rest of the scientific community. Therefore, as part of the summer experience, the students are invited to the NIH campus to present their summer research projects and experience.
From the initial 26 students from 13 states in 1995, the program has continued to grow, adding students from as far as Hawaii, Alaska and Puerto Rico. Three hundred applications were received for the years 2002 and 2003 with 65 students selected. The expectation is that the level of enthusiasm shown by these students participating in the program will continue and will inspire them through the coming years of their professional education.
In 2003 Dr. Jay Vadgama received additional support from the National
Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases to establish
the Drew Student Scholar Program, focused on exposing promising
high school and undergraduate students to areas of biomedical research
such as 1) diabetes, nutrition, obesity, and related endocrine/metabolic disorders; and 2) kidney, urologic, and oncologic diseases such as chronic kidney disease and prostate cancer, thus encouraging them to pursue biomedical careers in these areas.
The SPUR Program was started in the Summer of 2005, following
the establishment of the Bachelor's Degree in Biomedical Sciences at
the Charles Drew University. Feel free to explore this website as well as the sponsoring department site to learn more about the research accomplishments of our undergraduate students.