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Course Description

Program Design

REACH is an immersive program which combines training modalities that integrate lecture, clinical, cultural competence and health disparity preparation into a research experience.


REACH is built on 4 cores; a central laboratory research experience (Research core) is complemented by interactive lectures (Lecture core), pediatric clinical shadowing (Clinical core) and career development, health disparities and cultural competence training (Career Development core).


The framework of our integrative program is supported by a multi-tiered peer mentoring strategy meant to establish ample and robust guidance to the REACH interns along each step of the summer experience. Additionally, REACH uses a team-based strategy in which interns form research teams to design and carry out their own scientific projects.


The employment of immersive, peer-mentoring and team-based strategies is a paradigm shift that allows summer interns to acquire an integrated scientific experience.

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Mentorship and Team Based Strategies

Peer mentoring, led and supervised by research faculty, is done by dedicated graduate and medical student mentors and former interns. REACH mentors are faculty, graduate and medical students. Faculty mentors are researchers, clinicians and educators with a dedicated role within the program of guiding, supervising and training interns within their respective areas of expertise. Another crucial role of faculty mentors is to guide and oversee the student mentors. Student mentors are graduate and medical students, and former REACH interns, who under the guidance and supervision of faculty mentors hone and expand their mentoring skills. Significantly, student mentors are immediate role models. Through the interactions with student mentors in the midst of their continuing education, interns engage with contemporaries further along their chosen career path.


During the summer experience, interns form research teams. The team-based strategy is directed to create an environment in which interns learn collaborative problem solving, teamwork and leadership skills and conflict resolution. Faculty and student mentors guide team members to collectively learn to develop a scientific project, coordinate efforts, assign tasks, establish collaborations with other teams and effectively communicate their research.

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Program Schedule

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REACH Graduate Student Mentors

Overseen by faculty mentors, graduate student mentors guide team members to collectively learn to plan, coordinate efforts, assign tasks, and establish collaborative efforts with other teams. Student mentors also provide oversight on research activities and training on experimental protocols. An important role of the student mentors is in the recitations sessions. There, student mentors through active and didactic discussions reinforce integration between lecture, clinical and career development cores and the research core. Student mentors also work as facilitators in seminars, panels and luncheons meetings.


Graduate Students Mentors:

• Demonstrate research methodologies to be utilized for the planned research activities to interns.

• Coach interns in the design of their scientific projects.

• Train interns in research methodologies to be utilized for the planned research activities.

• Supervise interns’ research activities and data analyses.

• Oversee team’s dynamics.

REACH Steering Committee

Program Directors

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Juan Marcos Alarcon PhD

Assoc. Prof. Pathology,



Jenny Libien MD/PhD

Prof. & Chair Pathology, DHSU

Program Coordinator


Shwetha PhatarpekarSenior scientist at the Institute of Genomic in Health DHSU

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