Congratulations to our 2022 class of Mississippi INBRE Service Scholars (MISS). Working with our partners at My Brother’s Keeper, Inc. (MBK), this year’s class conducted remarkable research this summer while providing the Mississippi community with public health education and health services. Concluding at the inaugural Mississippi IDeA/EPSCoR Conference 2022 in late July, the MISS Scholars ended the summer with a stellar performance in the research poster competition.
Led by MISS Director Dr. Edna S. Lampkin and her staff at MBK, MISS is a 10-week summer research internship program for Mississippi undergraduate students. The program trains students to serve the Mississippi community as public health educators and service providers, as well as supplies them with research experience. It begins in late May and concludes in late July each year. The MISS Scholars spent their first two weeks at the MBK headquarters in Jackson, Miss. for training. The training included CPR certification, an overview of public health, and professional development courses to teach effective interpersonal communication skills.
After training, the MISS Scholars were assigned mentors and sent to various MBK centers across Mississippi to receive on-site training. The students shadowed staff at the centers as they were taught STD testing, patient counseling, and community education on healthy lifestyles and HIV prevention. During this time, the MISS Scholars also conducted community outreach events and surveys, drawing from their experiences to research a public health topic of passion.
MISS Scholar Jaylen Sandifer, a 22-year-old biology pre-medicine and music dual major at Jackson State University, thinks working at the clinic was an invaluable experience. “Through shadowing the providers, pharmacist and staff, I gained a deeper insight into the daily operations of a clinic and the importance of an inclusive and diverse clinical team. The experience also opened my eyes to the realities of LGBTQ+ and HIV+ patients concerning healthcare. It was an invaluable experience seeing culturally competent healthcare workers, and I think it will serve to make me a better physician in my future career,” said Sandifer.
Using data from their research to form an abstract, the scholars made research posters to present at professional meetings. This year, the MISS Scholars presented at the inaugural Mississippi IDeA/EPSCoR Conference 2022, a conference hosted by Mississippi INBRE on July 28, 2022, at the Lake Terrace Convention Center in Hattiesburg, Miss.
Each student did an outstanding job representing Mississippi INBRE in the research poster competition. Furthermore, Sandifer won 1st place in the Community-Based Poster Competition for his presentation, “Understanding Disparities in Healthcare for Transgender People in Jackson, Mississippi.”
“It was wonderful to see my research be acknowledged with a first-place win. Transgender and gender non-conforming individuals face increased barriers in healthcare access and discrimination. Having the opportunity to shine a light on this often-overlooked group of people is important to me. I am extremely proud of my research’s ability to create dialogue and push the conversation forward in this way,” said Sandifer about his thoughts on winning the competition.
Once again, congratulations to the 2022 class of Mississippi INBRE Service Scholars. We are not only proud of what you’ve achieved this summer, but of the service you have provided to our Mississippi community. We know Mississippi has a bright future.
Read our full interview with Sandifer.
See more photos from this year’s program.