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Students Present Research for CDA-Sponsored Summer Academic Programs


CDA midsummer review I (Left to right) Taylor Washington, Genequia Henderson, Kalebra Blair, Travoll Payne and DeAunna Lewis present research on sexually transmitted diseases during the Midsummer Review I session.

CDA midsummer review I Tyler Alexander, of Morehouse College, presents research on cardiovascular disease during the Midsummer Review I session.

Aug. 1, 2013 | For low-income families and minorities in Arkansas’ Delta region, asthma goes untreated among a majority of children. A group of Arkansas Commitment Scholars is spending the summer looking for a solution alongside Tamara Perry, M.D., and other UAMS and Arkansas Children’s Hospital researchers.

The UAMS Center for Diversity Affairs (CDA) facilitates placement of these students into research positions on campus.

The group investigating asthma in the Delta included three of 61 students furthering their academic, research, test-taking skills and medical knowledge in the CDA’s outreach programs. Students with the Arkansas Commitment Scholars mentored research program and USSEP I presented a synopsis of their research during Midsummer Review I July 11 at UAMS, while high school students with the Bridging the Gap program and ACT Prep program presented their research during Midsummer Review II on July 18.

The asthma research group is working to educate children, parents and school nurses in Stuttgart and Jonesboro about asthma treatment and prevention through surveys and telemedicine conferences. As part of the project they are working to receive funding to place asthma clinics in all schools in the Delta region.

“Asthma education is important because it will equip parents to treat minor asthma problems at home,” said Nichole Kanu, of Bates College in Lewiston, Maine. “This will prevent parents from taking their children to the doctor. And most small Delta towns only have one doctor, which makes for long wait times.”

Along with asthma education, Midsummer Review I participants presented research on the effects of particulate matter in the air, the impact of lung cancer on African-Americans, the impact of labor induction on mothers and babies, the effectiveness of cardiovascular disease medications, and the prevalence of sexually transmitted diseases among African-Americans.

Midsummer Review II participants presented research on diseases including infant mortality and morbidity, heart disease, sickle cell anemia and diabetes. They also gained experience in pathology, tissue banking, nursing, emergency medicine, pharmacy, anesthesiology, respiratory therapy, dental hygiene, public health, physical rehabilitation, radiology and surgical technology.

“We are giving these students something they can be proud of,” said Billy Thomas, M.D., vice chancellor for diversity affairs at UAMS. “USSEP has benefited the students by helping them get to where they want to go in the medical health professions and to help them develop as people.”

Sponsored by CDA, USSEP is designed for under-represented minority and disadvantaged students interested in health professions careers, and its aim is to provide enrichment in concepts and skills necessary to graduate from a health professions program. The program is divided into two phases, with the first including instruction in core sciences and the second helping students prepare for the medical college admission test (MCAT).

The Arkansas Commitment Program is a nonprofit organization created to identify African-American students in central Arkansas and equip them with knowledge, skills and professional experience through workshops on test preparation, the college search process and internship programs.

The Bridging the Gap and  ACT Prep programs are designed for students interested in health profession careers, helping to prepare them for college by providing academic enrichment in science, math and literacy.  Exposure to careers in biomedical research and the health professions increases their interest in a health profession career.

USSEP I participants and their colleges include:

  • John M.K. Barnes – UA, Little Rock
  • Kalebra Blair – UA, Pine Bluff
  • Kassidy Boyle – UA, Fayetteville
  • Genequia Henderson – UA, Pine Bluff
  • Darius Jackson – Pulaski Technical College 
  • DeAunna Lewis – UA, Little Rock
  • Travoll Payne – Louisiana State University
  • Faneisha Smith – UA, Pine Bluff
  • Tennika Stokes – UA, Little Rock
  • Taylor Washington –UA,  Little Rock

Arkansas Commitment Scholar participants and their colleges include:

  • Devon A. Hood – Westminister College
  • Tamara Jones – Lehigh University
  • Nicole Kanu – Bates College
  • Ashley D. Long – Duke University
  • Jennifer Marshall – Agnes Scott College
  • Jyssica Simmons – Rhodes College
  • Breana Taylor – Colorado College

CDA research intern participant and college:

  • Tyler C. Alexander – Morehouse College

ACT Prep Program students and their schools include:

  • Rickey Nash – eStem 
  • Joe Bradley – Parkview
  • Braylon Camper – Maumelle High
  • Theodore Flemister, Jr. – Central High
  • Kenton Graham – John L. McClellan
  • Rischalle Ellington – Wilbur D. Mills
  • Rischaye Ellington – Wilbur D. Mills
  • Rayna Hill – Hall High
  • Rodney Hill – Hall High
  • Christian Johnson – Parkview
  • Isis Johnson – Parkview
  • Akeia Joyner – Maumelle High
  • Tyler Lockhart – Central High
  • Anthony Miller – Sylvan Hills
  • Caelyn Neal – Bryant High
  • Destin Nichols – Bryant High
  • Leah Richardson – eStem
  • Paige Robinson – Central High
  • Michaela Thomas – Central High
  • Jaelan Williams – eStem
  • Khamira Williams – Sylvan Hills
  • Carl Ratliff – Bryant High
  • Eric Wilson – eStem

Bridging the Gap Program students and their schools include:

  • Stephanie Washington – Christian Academy
  • Jaylen Gregory – Mills High
  • Cameron Conner – Horace Mann Magnet
  • Mariah Adams – Lisa Academy
  • Jeremiah Holloway – Maumelle High
  • Sydni Gordon – eStem
  • Samuel Tanner – Central High
  • Sarah York – J.A. Fair
  • Jaira Porter – Pulaski Academy
  • Katherine Conley – El Dorado High
  • Mya Ellington-Williams – Fuller Middle
  • Saraia Driver – Academics Plus Charter
  • Makynzi Watson-Williams – Pulaski Heights
  • Tamera Washington – Horace Mann Magnet
  • Erica Kelly – Parkview
  • Legeraldlyn Richardson – eStem
  • Kennede McLeroy-Charles – eStem
  • Nia Anderson – eStem
  • Kennedy Leverett – Christian Academy

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