In the past decade, it has become increasingly clear that among the problems with U.S. graduate education and the research endeavor is the issue of diversity. As the 2005 Woodrow Wilson Foundation report, "Diversity &the Ph.D.", noted, while African Americans and Hispanics together currently constitute approximately 1/3 of the U.S. citizens in the Ph.D. candidate age range, they only receive 7% of the doctorate degrees. This disparity constitutes a large untapped resource for the scientific research workforce. Census Bureau numbers point to the increasing diversity in the U.S. population. This view is echoed again in the 2010 Commission on the Future of Graduate Education in the U.S. Report. Additionally, as Amri Johnson (The Scientist 2005) notes "... it has become increasingly clear to a growing body of scientist and policy maker that building a diverse pool of scientists and clinica investigators is mission critical in our efforts to reduce health disparities." Accordingly, there re important national considerations for increasing the participation of under- represented groups in biomedical research. Florida International University (FIU) is an urban, public research university located in Miami, Florida's largest population center. With over 44,000 students (72% underrepresented minority students), "Health" as a mission area, and its stated goal to be one of the nation's top 25 public urban research universities, FIU, through this proposed FIU MBRS RISE Program, provides a significant opportunity to develop more underrepresented scientists for biomedical research. This multifaceted RISE Program will, through student biomedical research oriented development activities at FIU: 1) build the biomedical research atmosphere in general;2) encourage underrepresented students at FIU to view biomedical research as a viable career option;and 3) for those that chose that path, prepare them for success in their biomedical career endeavors. This will be achieved through two initiatives. The Student Research Experience Initiative will provide a selected group of fifteen undergraduate and seventeen graduate students an intense research experience and other training to promote their success as future biomedical research scientists. The Biomedical Research Initiative will provide biomedical research exposure and training to the larger university audience through an annual symposium and a supervised independent biomedical research experience. The proposed FIU program will further the MBRS Program goals of increasing the number of currently underrepresented scientists engaged in biomedical research.
There are important national considerations (including reduction of health disparities) for increasing the participation of under-represented groups in the biomedical research endeavor. This proposed FIU MBRS RISE Program will further the NIGMS MBRS Program goals of increasing the number of currently underrepresented scientists engaged in biomedical research.
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