Yearlong research opportunity at LSU Health Shreveport opens for area high school seniors

SMART program prepares students for careers in medicine, biomedical fields

Enrollment for the 2023-2024 Bobbie Cates Hicks Science and Medicine Academic Research Training (SMART) program is now open and runs through Feb. 28. SMART provides a yearlong research experience with investigators at LSU Health Shreveport for 10 to 12 academically advanced high school seniors who have a career interest in medicine, biomedical research or biomedical engineering. SMART is a partnership among BRF; LSU Health Shreveport; and the Caddo, Bossier and DeSoto parish school boards. BRF has provided funding and program coordination for SMART since its inception in 1997.

SMART is in its 26th year, and the program has 238 graduates. In a recent survey of SMART graduates, 100 percent of respondents reported they are currently attending or have attended college, and 93 percent of respondents reported majoring in or having majored in science or health-related disciplines. Additionally, 81 percent reported they plan to attend or attended a postgraduate institution.

“SMART is intended to help elevate and prepare students for careers in medicine and the biomedical fields, so it is encouraging to see students continuing on in their pursuit of those studies,” said John F. George Jr., M.D., BRF President and CEO. “Our state and nation need highly trained physicians and scientists, and we’re proud of the start that the SMART program is giving them right here in Shreveport.”

More information about eligibility requirements and how to apply to SMART can be found at

Funding for the SMART program comes from the generosity of donors, including the late Bobbie Cates Hicks, the Bruce J. Heim Foundation, the Community Foundation of North Louisiana’s Give for Good donors, the Community Foundation of North Louisiana’s William C. Woolf Fund, and the Magale Foundation.

BRF and its donors support STEM education opportunities and technology-based workforce development initiatives through five additional programs, including the Biotechnology Magnet Academy (BTA) with nearly 200 current participants at Southwood High School, the BioStart senior research laboratory internships at LSU Health Shreveport, the College Navigator at BTA, and Southwood’s Clinical Lab course and FIRST Robotics program. BRF launched the BTA and BioStart programs in conjunction with the Caddo Parish School Board, LSU Health Shreveport, LSU Shreveport, participating biotech companies, and Southwood High School. To learn more, visit