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R. Rios1, E. Estapé2, C. Díaz3, B. Segarra2, M. San Martin2

1University of Puerto Rico, School of Public Health (PUERTO RICO)
2University of Puerto Rico-School of Health Professions (PUERTO RICO)
3University of Puerto Rico-School of Medicine (PUERTO RICO)
The University of Puerto Rico (UPR), Medical Sciences Campus (MSC) post-doctoral Master of Science in Clinical and Translational Research (MSc) program aims to train Hispanic post-doctoral candidates to advance their careers and become successful clinical and translational researchers geared to help eliminate health disparities. Its curriculum highlights the use of technology and online resources to maximize time use of time and efforts. As part of the assessment efforts, the program’s Evaluation Committee leads an annual activity, Evaluation Retreat (ER), to evaluate the program’s curriculum, research component, and mentoring experience according to Scholars’ perspective. Results are used by the Program Executive committee for further planning and improvement. This analysis presents the most relevant results from these activities.

Design Methods:
Data collection (from last 5 years), include quantitative (online surveys) and qualitative approaches (a group meeting with Scholars.) Questionnaires request Scholars to rate specific features of the program’s research component, mentoring experience and curriculum. It also includes questions about the program in general (major strengths and challenges, and recommendations for improvement.) During the group meeting, Scholars discuss these results and present consensus in a plenary session. Quantitative data are managed and analyzed using the statistical software SPSS. Qualitative data are examined using content analysis.

Scholars identified as program’s strengths the networking opportunities (local and with U.S. experts), the diversity of peers and faculty, the faculty support, the technical and audiovisual support, the physical facilities and resources, the guest speakers and consultants, and the quality of the curriculum. Challenges vary as cohorts change, but time limitations and the need for technical/statistical support are always highlighted. Recommendations for improvement emphasize the need for a greater pool of experienced mentors, and more hands-on approaches to address particular skills such as, manuscript development, institutional and federal guidelines for proposal submission, and issues related to the research project management.

Evaluation Retreats provide a valuable input to improve a program geared to develop competent clinical researchers. Findings evidence the program’s commitment with providing the foundation for an enhanced mass of clinical researchers.

Grant Support:
The project described was supported by The National Institutes of Health: Award Number HCTRECD R25MD007607 from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.