This proposal describes the continuation of the Meharry Bridges to Professional Advancement Program (BPAP) in association with the Master's programs at Tennessee State University and Fisk University to significantly increase the number of minority students that pursue doctoral studies in biomedical research fields by involving them in a program of excellence. In its inaugural effort the program designed and implemented a plan consisting of didactic and research-based strategies for achieving this goal which was guided by the following objectives: (1) to identify and select 6 students for Bridges participation from a pool of program-eligible students who have applied for Master's programs at partnering institutions, (2) to enroll selected students in focused and structured health- related biomedical curricula that provide enhanced academic and research opportunities; (3) to implement specialty courses designed to facilitate students transition to a doctoral program; (4) to provide a mentoring system for program students consisting of faculty from the Ph.D. granting institution; (5) to provide faculty with research-based professional development opportunities at Master's institutions which will result in better trained faculty and increased opportunities for student training; and to (6) upgrade biomedical research infrastructures at partnering institutions to assure student exposure to the most contemporary research methodologies and state-of-the-art biotechnology to improve their academic competitiveness. These objectives remain intact for this renewal proposal, as strategies that flow from each have proven to be effective in empowering Master's students at this critical transition point to a doctoral program for the next stage to a biomedical research career.
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