The MBRS-RISE Program at the University of the Virgin Islands proposes to contribute to the health of the Nation by preparing a unique population of undergraduate students for admission to highly selective doctoral programs in the biomedical and behavioral sciences. This will be accomplished by a program that combines training in research with developing students'motivation and commitment to scientific careers. The new vision for MBRS-RISE at UVI builds on a solid foundation of success: in the last 10 years 26 underrepresented minority UVI alumni have earned Ph.D. degrees. Since the RISE Program began, UVI has experienced dramatic changes;for example, since 2001 the number of Science and Mathematics graduates has doubled. The long term goals of the RISE Program at UVI are both to further transform the campus culture and to develop students'identities as biomedical researchers through connections to Caribbean heritage and the research needs of the community. This application proposes a program that engages students with innovative curriculum and co-curricular activities including research training and close partnerships with research- intensive institutions. A far-reaching, innovative program is needed at UVI to provide opportunities for the diverse student population to develop their potential to become leading biomedical researchers. UVI has an educational environment that will contribute to success, because there is a highly supportive administration including a new president with a new vision emphasizing student research, new partnerships with highly competitive research institutions, a large and growing pool of talented students, a number of new research programs that can work in synergy with RISE, and a small, supportive, collegial community.
The specific aims are: (1) 100% of the RISE students graduate;90% apply to pipeline programs in their senior year (PhD, masters, or post-baccalaureate programs);65% enroll in doctoral programs within 4 years of UVI graduation;with 45% enrolling in PhD programs directly;(2) generate positive institutional change that impacts all students in RISE-relevant departments such that the percentage of students enrolling in doctoral programs increases in all departments. These objectives will be accomplished by an integrated program including: (1) development of a new RISE curriculum and faculty training in pedagogy, (2) activities designed to increase students'understanding of the biomedical research needs of the US Virgin Islands and minority communities nationally, (3) research training both on campus and at partner institutions and presentation of results at conferences, (4) visiting scientists to provide role models and networking, (5) special workshops designed to provide clear continuity to the next educational steps, and (6) a network of support including UVI faculty, RISE staff, and summer research mentors. The external evaluators will use a mixed methods design to provide rigorous formative and summative evaluation designed to compare students'development with a control group. The overarching vision is to catalyze an increasing commitment to research across the University.

Public Health Relevance

This MBRS-RISE Program at the University of the Virgin Islands is relevant to public health because it will produce a group of highly trained, competitive students with the intellectual capacity, motivation, and commitment needed for success in highly selective doctoral programs and biomedical research careers. These University of the Virgin Islands students will develop innovative ideas needed for life-saving biomedical breakthroughs. Because these students have unique culture, educational, and socioeconomic backgrounds, they will provide a different perspective from other researchers;this perspective may be the key to understanding environmental impacts on health, minority health disparities, and many other biomedical questions.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Education Projects (R25)
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Minority Programs Review Committee (MPRC)
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Zlotnik, Hinda
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University of the Virgin Islands
Schools of Arts and Sciences
St. Thomas
United States
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Hu, Yanhua; Osuna-Highley, Elvira; Hua, Juchang et al. (2010) Automated analysis of protein subcellular location in time series images. Bioinformatics 26:1630-6