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

Date Posted: Thursday, July 29, 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 2020 summer research internship at Harvard Medical School was canceled due to the pandemic, 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, fall & winter programs, Diabetes Virtual Summer Camp returns August 6th sponsored by the American Diabetes Association.”

Instant Success and Raising Funds for the American Diabetes Association

The first three sessions included 1,188 students from 217 colleges in 46 states and 28 countries. Many of the students were underrepresented minorities with type 1 diabetes or have family members with diabetes. “Since our inaugural Summer Camp, we’ve partnered with the American Diabetes Association and raised thousands of dollars for 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

David Harlan, MD, the William and Doris Krupp Chair in Diabetes, Professor of Medicine and Co-Director of UMass Medical School's Diabetes Center of Excellence was a participating expert during the winter session.

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 participated during the fall. 

“I was amazed at 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 the virtual program was born in response to the pandemic, the Kim family is grateful that it has since reached thousands of students from across the world who would not have otherwise had opportunities to learn about diabetes from renowned experts. They plan to continue the program as a valuable educational tool to inspire the next generation of physicians and scientists.

Diabetes Virtual Summer Camp 2021: August 6-13

Diabetes Virtual Summer Camp will be a four week research internship program consisting of of high school, college, graduate and professional students worldwide. Participants will learn about biomedical research and academic medicine with a focus on diabetes research, education and care.  They'll receive a certificate upon completing the session.

Twelve Zoom sessions will highlight current topics on diabetes research and treatment as well as an academic career path in medicine and science. Sessions will be led by eight renowned diabetes scientists and clinicians from reputable universities, who will share their exciting research programs.

The program is free to all registered attendees with a suggested donation. Contributions will be donated to the American Diabetes Association to support diabetes research, education and care.

For more information, visit diabetesvirtualcamp.org.

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