American Indian BioMedical Science Academy

Wake Forest University Health Sciences

Director:   Joan Schanck
Academic Research Program Officer
Winston-Salem, NC
jschanck@wakehealth.edu

Project:   American Indian BioMedical Science Academy: Health and Biomedical Science Workforce Development for American Indian Students

The American Indian BioMedical Science (AIMS) Academy is an academic-community partnership between the Maya Angelou Center for Health Equity (MACHE) at the Wake Forest School of Medicine (WFSM), the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine (WFIRM) at WFSM and North Carolina American Indian Educators. This partnership creates a structured summer enrichment experience to engage American Indian (AI) high school students, from the seven tribal communities in Eastern North Carolina, with inquiry-based learning resources that impact interest, skills and, ultimately, the pursuit of health and biomedical science careers. The AIMS Academy achieves this goal through the following objectives:

  • Increase AI students' competency and knowledge of health and biomedical science careers;
  • Increase AI students' enthusiasm and preparation for health/biomedical science post-secondary education and careers by intersecting with creative, inquiry-based biomedical science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) hands-on curricula and tools;
  • Increase AI students' interest and ability to pursue post-secondary education through increasing skills in regard to college academic/application preparation, self-empowerment

AIMS Academy objectives are accomplished through a weeklong summer enrichment academy at WFSM during which students are involved in:

  • Orientation to WFU campus, Educational background on Health Disparities, Health Equity, Native/Indigenous Health, Culture and Health
  • Introduction to Regenerative Medicine, Classroom creative, inquiry-based activities/research guided by a Master Teacher who completed the WFIRM Summer Research Experience
  • Interactive sessions on Regenerative Medicine at WFIRM, BioImaging with the WFSM Translational Imaging Program, 3D printing, and other relevant translational research.
  • Interaction with faculty, staff and students at the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center on health/biomedical education/careers
  • Presentations by students on their research

The AIMS Academy utilizes a mixed-method evaluation approach and implement curricula [adapted from the Medical Careers and Technology Pipeline program (MedCaT)] that can be tailored for use among other underserved minority communities. In addition, AIMS Academy seeks to ensure sustainability through: 1) development of supportive student cohorts whose members seek to give back to new students; and 2) nurturing relationships between academic and community-based partners to generate community buy-in and ownership.