Lifespan and Brown University Program for High Schoolers Earns $50,000 Grant
A new program from Lifespan and Brown University aimed at increasing the number of high school students interested in working in orthopedics recently won a $50,000 grant from the Rhode Island Foundation. With the grant, the program – the Department of Orthopaedic Research Summer Academy Leadership (DORSAL) Program – will welcome its first students in the summer of 2024.
The DORSAL Program provides high school students from underserved backgrounds with a unique opportunity to explore orthopedics, offering mentorship and fostering a support network crucial for success. Students will participate in educational opportunities at Brown and lab time at Lifespan over 10 weeks in the summer. During the program, students will learn crucial skills, such as keeping a laboratory notebook and collecting data, laboratory safety and data analysis, networking, establishing an inclusive and diverse working culture, establishing a work-life balance, and how to write and present scientifically.
The funding of the DORSAL Program by the Rhode Island Foundation will make it possible for 10 local students from low-income communities to obtain valuable exposure, mentorship, and opportunity to form their own network in pursuit of a career in orthopedics, one of the least diverse and most difficult specialties to get into.
“As a result of the extreme difficulty of navigating so many unknowns, very few local students from low-income communities are able to become physicians, and as a result, the needs of the communities and valuable cultural knowledge remains in deficit, and many communities experience health inequities as a result,” said Dioscaris R. Garcia, PhD, an assistant professor in Brown University’s department of orthopaedics.
The $50,000 grant represents a pivotal moment for the DORSAL Program. It will serve as a cornerstone for its continued efforts to educate and inspire the next generation of orthopedic surgeons and researchers. The funding will cover program expenses, including educational materials, hands-on experiences, mentorship initiatives, as well as a stipend and outreach efforts to identify exceptional students.
“It is our hopes that the program continues to grow, and more promising youth from underrepresented backgrounds have the opportunity and support to join the field of orthopedics,” said Garcia. “As someone that has traversed the same paths as our cohort, I’m incredibly excited to be for these students the person I wish I had in my pursuit of a career in orthopedics.”
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