The IMSD Biomedical Graduate Fellows Program has literally transformed graduate education at UMBC. Since the Program was established in 1996, underrepresented (URM) enrollment in participating PhD programs (Biological Sciences, Chemistry and Biochemistry, Engineering and Human Services Psychology and Physics) has increased from 0%, 1%, 2%, 8% and 0%, respectively, to current levels of 14%, 10%, 25%, 8%, 19% and 13%, respectively. This corresponds to an increase in URM enrollment (U.S. citizens) from 5 students in 1996 to 44 students at present. An additional 17 IMSD Fellows have already received Ph.D. degrees, and 25 currently enrolled IMSD students have finished courses, advanced to candidacy, and are expected to earn PhD degrees in the next 2-3 years. By comparison, only 7 URMs earned SEM PhDs in participating PhD programs in the 17 years preceding the IMSD program. Interest in the IMSD program continues to climb, with 58 URM applications in AY-07. Retention rates (91% over the past 4 years;76% since inception) greatly exceed departmental and institutional averages. We now propose to double URM participation in our program by (1) reducing IMSD tuition and salary support from two years to one year, (2) eliminating IMSD funding of low-impact components (such as supply funding), and (3) expansion under our newly implemented GPILS (Graduate Program in Life Sciences) umbrella. Chairs and faculty of participating departments have offered to provide second-year funding, a substantial commitment that reflects a significant change in campus climate. These modifications, combined with additional new commitments to match support for three first-year students by the GPILS-Biochemistry Program and the new Dean of the GPILS, will allow us to increase first year enrollments from 8 students per year under the current system to 21 new students per year. If successful, our proposed program should generate at 16-18 URM PhD students annually. Since about 325 URMs earn Biology PhDs and 94 earn Chemistry PhDs each year (NSF data, 1998-2005), this represents a significant contribution (~ 5%) to the national output. The proposed program also significantly reduces the IMSD cost per PhD degree, from ~ $106,000 per degree under the current operating plan to ~ $47,000 per degree under the proposed plan. These figures include all IMSD-related costs, including F&A, and account for the current attrition rate. The PI and Program Coordinator will continue their efforts to disseminate information about effective diversification and mentoring practices, including organizing and participating in national meetings and publishing peer-reviewed articles. Public Health Relevance: The purpose of the IMSD Biomedical Fellows PhD Program at UMBC is to increase the number of underrepresented minorities in the biomedical and behavioral sciences that earn PhD degrees and obtain leadership and research positions in academics, government, and industry. Materials and tools will be developed to facilitate replication of program components at other academic institutions.
The purpose of the IMSD Biomedical Fellows PhD Program at UMBC is to increase the number of underrepresented minorities in the biomedical and behavioral sciences that earn PhD degrees and obtain leadership and research positions in academics, government, and industry. Materials and tools will be developed to facilitate replication of program components at other academic institutions.
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