The proposed project, Enhancing Cross-Disciplinary Infrastructure Training in Oregon (EXITO), involves a planning process for the development of an NIH Building Infrastructure Leading to Diversity (BUILD) Initiative at Portland State University. The proposed project will establish collaborative partnerships between programs at institutions in Oregon, Alaska, Hawaii, and Pacific Islands to support the education and training of students from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds pursuing careers in health sciences research. The EXITO planning process will emphasize the identification and alignment of opportunities for recruiting eligible students, the development of an articulated inter-institutional pathway for student progress, 'and the provision of enhanced student support and training for science careers. We propose to: 1. Conduct activities leading to the establishment of a consortium of institutions of higher education in Oregon, Alaska, and the Pacific Islands to expand the number of underrepresented scientists pursuing biomedical and behavioral research careers. 2. Explore innovative mechanism to facilitate the training, recruitment, and retention of underrepresented scientists at various stages in their career. 3. Plan an inter-institutional consortium of training programs that will leverage new and existing infrastructures to increase the number of underrepresented students, faculty and scientists engaged in the biomedical and behavioral research. We have assembled a team of investigators with expertise in minority health, undergraduate research training, mentoring, and health disparities. Lastly, and most critically for the EXITO planning grant, is the high impact of attracting a large and diverse population of traditionally underrepresented students (n=60,000 students from various institutions. EXITO will define a clear pathway for students from institutions with few connections to the U.S. mainland to pursue education and training opportunities in health-related research at PSU and OHSU.
The proposed project will develop a plan for training infrastructure and supports to address the identified need for greater diversity among NIH-funded investigators in the biomedical, behavioral, clinical and social sciences. The project will generat an inter-institutional consortium to recruit students from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds in Oregon, Alaska, Hawaii, and Pacific Islands and provide them with high quality mentoring and research training to prepare them for research careers in health-related fields.