The proposed planning initiative aims to strengthen the ability of California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) to optimally develop a pipeline for advanced doctoral degrees for those population groups most underrepresented in biomedical and behavioral research. First generation-educated Latino, African American, and Native American students have been, and continue to be, gravely underrepresented in the biomedical and behavioral disciplines. Through the Advancing Health Opportunities Research Alliance (AHORA) initiative, we seek to harness the expertise and training capabilities of highly productive faculty to promote an environment that provides underrepresented students with educational and research experiences that will optimize their success in doctoral research programs.
The specific aims of the AHORA initiative are to: 1) Form a collaborative of internal and external institutional research and pipeline partners and programs to become the AHORA Network Consortium;2) Conduct a strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) analysis to assess programmatic resources and needs, which will be integrated with expert feedback on institutional infrastructure, in order to develop a preliminary best practices report;) Based on findings from Aim 2, create an innovative strategic plan for the development of the forthcoming BUILD initiative to establish culturally responsive educational mentorship, rigorous research training, and recruitment and retention strategies designed for underrepresented students in the biomedical and behavioral sciences. Furthermore, institutionalization of these efforts will be sought through the proposed BUILD planning process and initiative by focusing on strengthening the collaboration between our biomedical and behavioral science departments at CSULB, our CSU and community college partners, and our national network of mentors.
Increased representation of first generation-educated underrepresented students in biomedical and behavioral research is warranted to best serve the nation's diverse population and its complex health challenges. The proposed initiative aims to create an innovative strategic plan for the development of culturally responsive educational mentorship, research training, and recruitment and retention strategies to shepherd underrepresented students to doctoral programs in the biomedical and behavioral sciences.