What does my future look like?

Participants in OHSU internship programs explore future health and biomedical research careers

There's nothing like hands-on experience to influence a career choice. The OHSU Summer Equity Research Program and the Ted R. Lilley Cancer Continuing Umbrella of Research Education (CURE) Program give up-and-coming health care professionals and biomedical researchers invaluable experience in the labs of OHSU faculty members to prepare them for future careers in biomedicine.

Summer Equity and CURE program participantsThe 2012 cohort from both the CURE and Equity programs celebrated their accomplishments during a scientific research poster session and awards ceremony Aug. 10. The OHSU Center for Diversity & Inclusion administers both programs.

Brian Druker, M.D., director of the Knight Cancer Institute, was at the ceremony in the BICC gallery to help celebrate with the Ted R. Lilley family, the five 2012 CURE interns and their mentors. Dr. Druker noted a decade of success for the CURE program, which has seen 97 percent of its participants go on to enroll in four-year college programs.

Janell Payano Sosa and Allison FryerAllison Fryer, Ph.D., associate dean for graduate studies, helped welcome the Equity program participants, congratulating them on being chosen from a highly competitive pool of applicants. This year, 190 students vied for the 16 slots in the graduate studies, dentistry or medicine tracks. "This program has grown phenomenally over the years," she said.

The CURE program is for high school students from economically disadvantaged populations to learn about cancer-focused science while stimulating their interest in biomedical research and health careers. 

Merhawi MehariThe Equity program is targeted at students who have faced and overcome significant economic or social disadvantages. Over the course of eight to 10 weeks, students work with School of Medicine and School of Dentistry faculty and graduate students in a research setting. They conduct their own research project, participate in weekly seminars and meetings, give an oral presentation on their research and receive mentoring appropriate to their career goals from OHSU faculty.

The Equity program is supported by the Schools of Medicine and Dentistry, the Portland Alcohol Research Center and the Office of Science Education Opportunities. The CURE program is supported by the Ted R. Lilley Foundation and the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute. For more information, visit the Center for Diversity & Inclusion's website.


Pictured top: The 2012 cohort of Equity and CURE program participants

Pictured middle: Janell Payano Sosa, left, with Allison Fryer, Ph.D., associate dean for graduate studies. Sosa is a University of Maryland student who participated in the Equity program with mentor Suzanne Mitchell, Ph.D.

Pictured bottom: Merhawi Mehari, a California State East Bay student, explains his research to an attendee. Mehari participated in the Equity program with mentor Owen McCarty, Ph.D.