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1.28.2014

Resident Scholarly Activity Program Helps Undergrads Become Scientists

The Resident Scholarly Activity Program (RSAP), traditionally a curriculum aimed at improving the quantity and quality of research projects pursued by residents, enrolled its first group of undergraduate students to complete an adapted model geared specifically toward their needs.

Led by Sonjia Kenya, Ed.D, M.S., M.A., assistant professor of medicine, and program directors Leonardo Tamariz, M.D., M.P.H., associate professor of medicine, Ana Palacio, M.D., M.P.H., associate professor of medicine, and Stephen Symes, M.D., M.P.H., associate professor of medicine and Assistant Dean for Diversity and Multicultural Affairs, the three-year RSAP core training program provided Marie Fatil, Ikenna Okoro, and Kiera Wallace the basics of research methodology, including the processes involved in preparing data for publication and identifying faculty mentors who share their research interests.

Currently, all three students are working in academic research positions at the Miller School while furthering their education.

Fatil, who graduated from UM in 2012, is pursuing her M.P.H. at the Miller School, where she works with Kenya studying methodologies for targeting Haitian women for HIV/AIDS testing. Fatil, who applied to medical school last summer, has already garnered accolades for her research, earning the highest scoring student award for her abstract, “HPV awareness prevents positive infections among HIV positive Haitian women,” presented November 3 at the 141st Annual Meeting and Expo of the American Public Health Association.

Okoro, who graduated from UM in 2013, is research coordinator for a grant Kenya received from the Miami Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) to conduct a study on the feasibility of home-based HIV rapid testing among Miami’s African-American population, the racial/ethnic group most affected by HIV. Okoro, who helped organize World AIDS Day events in Overtown this December, will be applying to medical school this summer.

Wallace, currently a senior at UM, is working with Okoro on Kenya’s CTSI grant and will begin the M.P.H. degree program next fall.

“Thanks to the mentoring and training these students received through the RSAP program and our faculty, they are now among a growing number of UM graduates equipped to expand knowledge through research,” Kenya said.

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