RCP Assesses Mississippi's Public Health & Community Engagement Partnership

In March 2017, RCP conducted an assessment of the Mississippi IDeA Network for Biomedical Research Excellence (Mississippi INBRE) program, a five-year cycle-competitive $20 million NIH-funded program designed to enhance biomedical research capacity throughout the state. The AAAS RCP convened a panel of 3 scientific experts at various sites in Jackson, Mississippi to provide external evaluation and guidance to the Mississippi INBRE leadership on the development and implementation of the program’s Community Engagement and Training Core (CETC).

Award-winning poster describing research conducted by a Mississippi INBRE Service Scholar in summer 2016. Left: Dr. June Gipson, President/CEO of My Brother’s Keeper, Inc., and Director of the Mississippi INBRE Community Engagement and Training Core. Right: Antwan Nicholson, MBK Director of Community-Based Programs.

Through a unique partnership with community organization My Brother’s Keeper, Inc., headquartered in Jackson, the CETC has established the Mississippi INBRE Service Scholars summer internship aimed at introducing students from Mississippi’s primarily undergraduate colleges and universities to public health and health disparities education, clinical practice, and research. With recommendations made by RCP's previous expert review panel in 2015, the CETC developed a two-week immersive camp for Service Scholars in which students are trained in research conduct, public health, cultural competency, as well as receive certifications in phlebotomy, CPR, and HIV testing and counseling. Students are then matched with a senior staff mentor at My Brother’s Keeper, Inc., and participate in 8 weeks of community-based clinical care and research at various locations throughout Mississippi. RCP reviewers had the opportunity to view a sample of the research results from the 2016 Service Scholars cohort, including award-winning posters presented at the state-wide Mississippi Academy of Sciences annual meeting. The panel enjoyed the visit to the MBK Headquarters and internship sites in Jackson, Mississippi, and was excited to learn about this innovative program and the strong partnership between Mississippi INBRE and My Brother’s Keeper, Inc.

RCP looks forward to working with the Mississippi INBRE program in the future to assess the strengths and challenges of their program for continued growth and sustainability.