Advances in medicine are taking place at a staggering rate, and what was considered basic science only yesterday is being replaced by new ideas and discoveries. The Summer Institute on Medical Ignorance (SIMI) was developed to enrich student education and general health literacy beyond classroom lectures; additionally, it fosters closer relationships between local teachers and students and medical professionals. Linked to the College of Medicine's Curriculum on Medical Ignorance (CMI), SIMI focuses primarily on students and teachers from disadvantaged environments. Research fellows gain familiarity with biologic horizons in both basic and clinical science, acquire a broad grasp of research skills, learn to communicate more clearly and refine their problem-solving skills. They meet distinguished visiting scientists and physicians, working closely with professionals who teach them how to translate questioning techniques into their lives and classrooms. Since 1987 and 1991, respectively, approximately 351 high school students and 118 teachers in Arizona have been awarded summer research fellowships. Many former SIMI students have gone on to significant careers in science, sometimes rejoining the program as medical students. The vast majority of participants say the research program was enlightening; students credit it with spurring their interest in medicine, and teachers say it has vastly changed their classrooms. We are currently developing a medical ignorance collaboratory and an online project that will expand the program -- and its opportunities -- to teachers, students and lifelong learners worldwide.
~25 students are accepted for the SIMI program each year. They work full-time in various medical laboratories and clinics at The University of Arizona Health Sciences Center, doing research on such subjects as cardiovascular disease, genetics, cancer, neuroscience and preventive medicine.
STUDENTS: Students in the summer program will be paid to work 40 hours per week (minimum wage for the seven-week session) in research apprenticeships at the College of Medicine. While there, students are paired with faculty mentors and medical students on specific projects, and attend bi-weekly research seminars. The summer program culminates with student presentations about their experiences and a written report detailing their progress. Maximum consideration will be given to junior and senior students from disadvantaged backgrounds with a 3.0 (or better) grade-point average who have demonstrated an interest in science. To apply, students must complete an application that includes recommendations from school science advisers, a short essay and an explanation of your disadvantaged status.