Evaluation of a summer research institute in behavioral health for undergraduate students

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Health Education -- methods, Florida, Health Services Research, Mental Health, Mentors, Pilot Projects, Program Development, Research -- education


Because of the need for additional researchers in the interdisciplinary field of behavioral health services research, the Florida Mental Health Institute at the University of South Florida developed and pilot tested a summer research institute for undergraduate students. Participants completed a 6-week program in which they developed a research project with a mentor and participated in a research seminar. The long-term objectives of the program were to attract promising students to the field and encourage them to pursue careers in behavioral health services research; short-term goals of the program were to strengthen participants' research skills and knowledge, provide an intensive and enjoyable learning experience, and positively impact participants' intentions to pursue graduate education in behavioral health. These goals were evaluated using a pre-post design with 6-month follow-up. Findings suggested that short-term goals were met. Suggestions for future improvements and implementation at other research settings are discussed.

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