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UCF tries INTREPID approach to build diversity in research on aging

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A University of Central Florida project aims to launch medical and STEM undergraduates from underrepresented groups into areas of research that address the health care disparities of a growing senior population.

UCF is recruiting established students -- who are already taking upper-division courses -- to work with researchers in its Disability, Aging and Technology Cluster.

Associate Dean of Academic Excellence Norma Conner says the project – called INTREPID – will, over two years, give the students research experience, build their bond with seniors and boost their identity as scientists. INTREPID stands for "Investigators from Novices, a Transdisciplinary Research Education Program to Increase Diversity."

It includes an $8,100-a-year stipend. Conner plans to sign up 10 students this summer and 40 students overall.

Their underrepresented backgrounds – as a minority student or a rural resident or someone living with a disability or even as a male student in a nursing program – could inform future research.

"They’re more able to shape new studies," Conner said, "to interpret the findings differently, to recruit and retain the participants in a better way, ‘cause they understand them, promote trust among the participants, promote diverse perspectives in really all levels of the research, and then create culturally appropriate interventions."

INTREPID is funded through a five-year, nearly $2 million grant from the National Institute on Aging.

Joe Byrnes came to WMFE/WMFV from the Ocala Star-Banner and The Gainesville Sun, where he worked as a reporter and editor for several years. Joe graduated from Loyola University in New Orleans and turned to journalism after teaching. He enjoys freshwater fishing and family gatherings.
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