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Diabetes Virtual Camp for Future Scientists and Physicians Created by the Family of UMass Diabetes Researcher Jason Kim

The high school and college student daughters of Dr. Kim founded and quickly implemented this successful program

Date Posted: Friday, January 15, 2021
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Jason Kim, PhD, with daughters Lauren (holding Teddy), Allison, and wife Jayne 

The laboratory of Jason Kim, PhD, at the UMass Medical School Diabetes Center of Excellence, investigates obesity, diabetes and its complications. The goal of their research is to understand how inflammation develops in obesity and causes type 2 diabetes.

Dr. Kim’s daughters Allison and Lauren are also considering careers in medicine and science. When Lauren’s summer research internship at Harvard Medical School was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic last year, the family created the Diabetes Virtual Camp to connect students and experts in a virtual internship setting.

“The Diabetes Virtual Camp that my two daughters and I created in May of 2020 came together quickly and reached hundreds of college and high school students across the world,” said Dr. Kim, Professor in the Program in Molecular Medicine, and Director of the National Mouse Metabolic Phenotyping Center at UMass Medical School. “Following the success of our summer and fall programs, we are continuing with the Diabetes Virtual Winter Camp, beginning on January 23, 2021.”

Instant Success and Raising Funds for the American Diabetes Association

The Summer and Fall programs included 537 students from 111 colleges in 44 states and 10 countries. Many of the students are underrepresented minorities and have type 1 diabetes or family members with diabetes. “Since our inaugural Summer Camp, we’ve partnered with the American Diabetes Association and raised more than $8,000 that’s been donated to support diabetes research, education and care,” added Dr. Kim. “Our mission is to support diabetes education and inspire a new generation of physicians and scientists.”

Volunteer Diabetes Experts from UMass Medical School

Michael Czech, PhD, the Isadore and Fannie Foxman Chair of Medical Research, and Professor in the Program in Molecular Medicine at UMass Medical School, was a participating expert in the Fall Camp. David Harlan, MD, the William and Doris Krupp Chair in Diabetes, Professor of Medicine and Co-Director of Diabetes Center of Excellence at UMass Medical School, will participate in the Winter Camp.

“I was amazed how quickly the virtual program came together and reached so many students globally through the power of social media, and the credit goes to my daughters,” said Dr. Kim. “Lauren was already immersed in the virtual world through her high school’s remote learning, and she realized how we could use technology to reach more people than ever imagined.”

Although their virtual program was born in response to the pandemic, the Kim family is grateful that it has reached thousands of students from across the world who would not have otherwise had opportunities to learn about diabetes from renowned experts. It will remain a valuable educational tool to inspire the next generation of physicians and scientists.

Diabetes Virtual Winter Camp 2021

Diabetes Virtual Winter Camp is a four-week virtual research internship program that invites high school, college, graduate and professional students worldwide interested in learning about biomedical research and academic medicine with a focus on diabetes research, education, and care.

The program consists of 14 Zoom sessions that highlight current topics on diabetes research and treatment as well as an academic career path in medicine and science. The sessions are led by 11 renowned diabetes scientists and clinicians from reputable universities, who will share their exciting research programs.

This program is free to all registered attendees with a suggested donation, and those contributions will be donated to the American Diabetes Association.

All participants will receive a certificate upon completing the four-week virtual internship program. For more information, visit diabetesvirtualcamp.org.

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