The UCLA CTSI Research Associates Program (CTSI-RAP), a pipeline program that exposes undergraduates to hospital-based health practice and clinical research, has completed its eighth year.
Under the guidance of faculty mentors, CTSI-RAP research associates become comfortable with the workings of a hospital and gain skills in professionalism, patient communication, and research methodology. Typically during their tenure, students interact with research subjects, collect and analyze data, and contribute to publications and presentations.
Due to the pandemic, CTSI-RAP students have had limited opportunities to participate in active projects as clinical research volunteers have been on a pause within the Health System since March 2020. Even so, the students and their leaders have continued to promote clinical research education and learning opportunities within the campus community. Students have met weekly, heard from a diversity of guest speakers, attended various departmental grand rounds, networked professionally and socially, and learned about post-graduate opportunities in the health professions. Our Student Directors, Ashley Huynh and Gabrielle Le were vital and impressive in sustaining a welcoming and engaging environment for all students.
As part of the pivot to more virtual experiences, CTSI-RAP is pleased to announce that nine abstracts were accepted and will be presented at the UCLA Undergraduate Research Week's Undergraduate Research and Creativity Showcase on May 25, which is hosted by the Undergraduate Research Centers.
|Title of Presentation||CTSI-RAP Presenter||Principal Investigator|
|Identifying Variation in Community-Level COVID-19 Case Counts and Health Determinants to Promote Safer Behaviors Amidst the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Reopening||Rebecca Phelan, Eden Wetzel, Fiza Baloch, Sandhya Rajkumar, and Jordan Lo||Dr. Moira Inkelas|
|Effect of Tai Chi on Quality of Life in Older Adults With Major Depression||Vaidehi Ramanarayanan||Dr. Helen Lavretsky|
|Assessing the Reproductive Life History of Women Through Alzheimer’s Related Inflammation||Angela Wang||Dr. Molly Fox|
|Quantifying Adipose Tissue in Children Using Free-Breathing Magnetic Resonance Imaging||Kelsey Kuwahara||Dr. Holden Wu|
|The Use of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) in Clinical and Translational Research Centers (CTRCs)||Varshni Nandakumar||Dr. Noah Federman/CTRC|
|Impacts of COVID-19 on Chronic Disease Management: A Mixed Methods Study||Ashley Huynh||Dr. Lauren Wisk|
|Operational Changes in the UCLA-Westwood Clinical & Translational Research Center during the COVID-19 Pandemic||Alec Simoni||Dr. Noah Federman/CTRC|
|Reported Impact of COVID-19 on Chronic Mental Health Condition Management||Connie Lee||Dr. Lauren Wisk|
|UCLA CTSI Research Associates Program: Promoting Clinical Research and Cultivating the Next Generation of Medical Scientists||Sherry Dorosk, Alice Ma, Amy Kumar, Hailey Valles||Dr. Laurie Shaker-Irwin / Dr. Noah Federman|
While Research Week shows the culmination of students’ research this year, CTSI-RAP outreach and collaboration efforts also provide these students with the rigor and training to enter health care professions.
Dr. Noah Federman, CTSI-RAP medical director, notes that "CTSI-RAP is a one-of-its-kind program training and mentoring the next generation of clinical researchers and physician scientists. It has been a joy to watch these wide-eyed students find their love for clinical investigation and contributing to our medical knowledge base as a whole. We are proud to be a stepping stone for these talented phenoms as they begin their journeys into the healthcare field."
Later this month, the RAP Graduation & Alumni Night will provide a forum for celebrating our graduating seniors who have contributed their volunteer hours on RAP projects within the UCLA Health System and for returning program alumni to discuss their career paths since graduation. We anticipate over 50 attendees for the event where Dr. Steven Dubinett, Associate Vice Chancellor and Senior Associate Dean for Translational Research at UCLA and the UCLA CTSI Director, is the invited speaker acknowledging the students' dedication to the UCLA research mission. The impressive alumni attendance is proof that the traditions and values instilled by CTSI‐RAP leadership and faculty mentors to pay it forward are actualized by encouraging the next generation to follow biomedical career paths.
We are excited to hear from faculty investigators and their projects for the upcoming 2021-2022 academic year. Further RAP information and a spotlight video may be found on our website.