Jason Blackard, PhD, has been named director of medical student research initiatives in the University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Medicine.
He will be responsible for developing and coordinating research activities for medical students. Blackard will create and maintain an inventory/database of research activities and mentors, provide oversight for medical student research training, and establish a medical student research group to assist in furthering research initiatives. Other duties will include approving medical student rotations, tracking student and mentor evaluations, and partnering with curriculum committees in the college to ensure that Liaison Committee of Medical Education standards are met. Blackard will report to Andrew Filak Jr., MD, senior associate dean for academic affairs, and Melanie Cushion, PhD, senior associate dean for research.
"We are excited to have Dr. Blackard lead the medical student research program,” says Filak. "Many of our students seek out experiences with our talented and dedicated research faculty. Dr. Blackard is well positioned to assist these students. He is well respected by his colleagues for his research and he has a demonstrated history of teaching and of advocacy for our students.”
Blackard, an associate professor in the Division of Digestive Diseases with the Department of Internal Medicine, will continue his current research in HIV and viral hepatitis and education responsibilities while assuming this new role. He received bachelor degrees in biology and Spanish from the University of Arkansas and a doctorate in biological sciences in public health from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Blackard joined the College of Medicine faculty in 2005 after completing a postdoctoral fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital.
In 2007, Blackard received an American Society for Microbiology Young Investigator Award for research excellence in microbiology and infectious disease. He also has developed study abroad programs in Ghana, South Africa, China and Botswana for UC students interested in public health and international research, and conducts federally-funded research in the United States and South Africa.