Texas AandM University-Corpus Christi will partner with four research-intense institutions to develop strategies enabling underrepresented students to complete bachelor's degrees and matriculate into biomedical and behavioral PhD programs. The long-term goal is to address the compelling need to increase diversity in the scientific workforce, thus broadening perspectives in identifying research needs and effecting a catalytic change in the current research paradigm, particularly in health disparities. The short-term goal is building a partnership to develop a competitive BUILD application. These goals address a key roadblock in biomedical and behavioral research: the lack of diversity in the scientific workforce. Achieving these goals supports the NIH mission by including the perspectives and experiences of underrepresented researchers to improve fundamental knowledge, apply that knowledge to health and reduce the burden of illness.
The Specific Aim of the project is to: Expand existing partnerships to include other institutions, collaborate to develop strategies focused on the recruitment and retention of underrepresented students into biomedical and behavioral careers and organize these strategies into a competitive application for a BUILD award Through regular bimonthly meeting of the 11 multi-disciplinary investigators, the partners will evaluate and design programs to invest in both students and faculty. The perspectives, wants and needs of current students, faculty and graduates who hold PhD degrees will be assessed in surveys and focus groups to determine best practices for diversifying the biomedical and behavioral workforce. These programs will develop effective and efficient mentoring, enrichment and research activities to engage, encourage and position students for graduate school. These programs will strengthen institutional partnerships, bolster infrastructure and enhance faculty mentoring skills.
A racially and ethnically diverse biomedical and behavioral workforce benefits the public health of the nation. The collaboration of diverse individuals provides multiple perspectives to solve the nation's health challenges.