NIH Awards AIREC Nearly $1 Million for Journey Program

Apr. 19, 2017

The American Indian Research and Education Center (AIREC) within the UNLV School of Community Health Sciences was awarded a $980,500 grant in March to continue its five-year-old Journey summer academics program through 2022. The proposal was submitted by AIREC Executive Director Dr. Carolee Dodge-Francis, a Native American Indian researcher and associate professor within the school.

Journey is a ten-week summer program which engages twenty American Indian/Alaska Native and Puerto Rican high school juniors and seniors from around the country with hands-on experience with biomedical, behavioral, clinical and social sciences research in diabetes, endocrinology, metabolism, nutrition and obesity.

Journey is designed to encourage 11th and 12th grade American Indian/Alaska Native and Puerto Rican high school students to pursue higher education degrees in research fields by demonstrating:

  • Real-world use of scientific methods;
  • The role that research plays in shaping medical and behavioral fields;
  • Responsible conduct in health-related research;
  • The diversity of people who pursue medical-science careers.

The award comes through the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease’s STEP-UP (Short-Term Research Experience Program for Underrepresented Persons) program, which expands research training opportunities for high school junior and senior students from racial/ethnic groups and disadvantaged backgrounds underrepresented in biomedical and behavioral research.

AIREC at UNLV is one of four national NIH NIDDK STEP-UP High School Coordinating Centers, with others at University of Hawaii, Stanford and UCLA. The STEP-UP grant began March 1, 2017 and will end Feb. 28, 2022.