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Tougaloo College Students Aspiring Toward Careers in Public Health Visit the NIH Campus

Office of the Director - August 7, 2009

Dr. Robert Hoyt, Division of Intramural Research, Laboratory of Animal Medicine
Dr. Robert Hoyt, Division of Intramural Research, Laboratory of Animal Medicine
& Surgery, NHLBI, takes students on a tour of his lab.

Students from Tougaloo College in Jackson, Mississippi, visited the National Institutes of Health (NIH) July 28-29, as part of the Jackson Heart study training program, an initiative supported by the Office of Research Training and Minority Health (ORTMH), Office of the Director, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI).

The program is designed to help prepare students for careers in research, medicine, public health, and epidemiology related to cardiovascular diseases and is a joint collaboration with the Jackson State University, Tougaloo College, and the University of Mississippi Medical Center. The Jackson Heart study training program provides curriculum to students to carry out medical research studies such as the Jackson Heart Study - the largest cohort study to investigate the inherited (genetic) factors that affect high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, diabetes and other important diseases in African Americans.

During their two-day tour of the campus, the 12 students had a wonderful opportunity to engage with leaders across the NIH as staff from various Institutes and Centers spoke to the students and shared their many experiences with them. They also visited several NHLBI laboratories. The NHLBI Deputy Director Susan Shurin, M.D., welcomed them and shared the many contributions that the NIH makes to the national and international community as a steward of scientific research.

Among the celebrated leaders, students also met with Tougaloo College Alumni including Office of Communications and Public Liaison Branch Chief Calvin Jackson and National Cancer Institute Research Fellows Drs. Audray Harris and Kimberly Jackson, all of whom shared stories with the students and reflected on how their experiences at Tougaloo College helped define who and where they are today as members of the NIH community.

The student’s visit to the NIH campus marks the sixth year of this program – a testament to the NHLBI’s commitment to the advancement of research for generations to come. This program was a shared learning experience for everyone involved and the NIH community looks forward to the many contributions this talented group of young adults will make to the larger scientific community. Office of Research Training and Minority Health (ORTMH) Director Helena O. Mishoe, Ph.D., MPH, who helped organize and lead the two-day tour, said of the program, “Each year we are excited to bring a new cadre of Tougaloo scholars to the NIH. The power of their imagination after visiting the NIH makes their career possibilities truly infinite. We are delighted to play a part in their future.”

To learn more about the Tougaloo College Students and the Jackson Heart Study, please visit:

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