[dropcap type=”circle” color=”#ffffff” background=”#1285D5″]>>[/dropcap] Students representing 15 high schools around Puerto Rico were invited to participate in the RCMI’s 13th International Symposium on Health Disparities, held December 9-14, 2013.

community-engagement-2-150x150The Community Engagement, Research Pipeline session provided opportunities for young boys and girls, grades 10-12, to interact with leaders in health research and experience hands-on scientific activities prepared by researchers at the RCMI institutions. The 148 students, 24 teachers and six parents rotated through more than a dozen different activities, listened to poster presentations and engaged with representatives at the booths.

The goals of the Research Pipeline session were to increase the students’ understanding of health issues and the scientific approaches being used to address them; enhance students’ understanding of career pathways in the health sciences and discuss strategies for successfully navigating those pathways; improvement of professional skills in communication and critical thinking, and to increase the students’ self-confidence in their own potential to succeed in health-related careers.

“The experience of bringing together participants was amazing, both for the organizing committee and for attendees,”

said Eddy Rios-Olivares, Coordinator of the Community Engagement Committee of the RCMI Symposium Planning Committee and Program Director, of the RCMI Program, Universidad Central del Caribe (UCC).

community-engagement-11-150x150More than 45 additional staff and volunteers and six presenters ensured the event was a success. In addition to presentations from Dr. Rios-Olivares and Ivonne Amil, UCC Assistant Administrator, additional speakers included: