For more than 40 years, there has been a nationwide effort to encourage students from underrepresented ethnic minorities to pursue careers in the biomedical sciences. Despite widespread intervention programs, there remains a significant under- representation of minority scientists engaged in biomedical and behavioral research in the United States. To date there have been few studies using appropriate matched samples to examine the effectiveness of such programs. A multidisciplinary research team from CSUSM is proposing the continuation of a longitudinal, theory-driven, empirical evaluation of the NIH-sponsored Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement (RISE) program. RISE provides monetary support, training, research experience, mentoring, and graduate school preparation for minority college students in the biomedical sciences. Our study tracks the educational pathways of over 1,300 minority science students from 45 campuses across the United States. Of the participating students, half are funded through NIH training programs (primarily RISE, with a few MARC and SCORE students). The other half of the students serve as non- experimental matched controls, drawn from comparable universities and with similar demographics and prior accomplishments.
The aim of this study is to continue to track panel members across the next four years, as they move into graduate school and beyond. This will enable us to assess not only how the RISE program affects students'intention to pursue a scientific career, but importantly how RISE has an impact on attaining a Ph.D., entering a biomedical research career and subsequent scientific achievements. Additionally, we examine how the various components of the RISE program (e.g., mentorship, research experience, financial assistance) contribute towards its long-term effectiveness. Lastly, we will examine what types of psychological constructs, such as self-efficacy, scientific identity, values and goal-orientation, best predict and explain why program components work. Our research program will provide empirical data that can inform nationwide programs designed to encourage students from underrepresented ethnic groups to pursue careers in the sciences.
The proposed research will have a significant positive impact on broadening participation of underrepresented minorities in biomedical science research careers. Given the increasing diversity of the US population, the diversification of the biomedical sciences will undoubtedly have a positive effect on public health via improvements in the diagnosis and treatment of health of both minority and majority patients.
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