The overall objective of this renewal proposal is to facilitate the matriculation, training, and graduation of underrepresented (UR) doctoral scholars at MUSC. The intended outcome is to increase the number of UR students who complete the PhD degree in the biomedical sciences, leading to an increase in the numbers of UR faculty teaching and conducting biomedical research in U.S. colleges and universities. Students at MUSC take part in a broad array of research foci including cardiovascular biology, regenerative medicine, cancer, neuroscience, drug discovery, structural biology, and biostatistics and epidemiology. Unique to this training program on our campus is the extensive support of UR students in the first years of graduate school. The IMSD program integrates well into the overall scheme for increasing diversity in the biomedical workforce at MUSC, which includes a robust summer undergraduate research program and the MUSC-Claflin career development program for postdoctoral scholars. In this continuation of the MUSC IMSD, we anticipate supporting 5 doctoral scholars through their first and second years of graduate training, using interconnecting strategies to ensure their success. Initiatives to accomplish our goals include: 1) recruitment strategies targeted to colleges, universities and national meetings having a large constituency of UR undergraduate students 2) a pre-matriculation program to ensure students are prepared for the first year of graduate school 3) a peer mentoring program to give students a network of support on campus 4) a Diversity in Science course and workshops to discuss cultural and ethnic diversity and surmounting obstacles 5) career development workshops and guidance on writing and submitting grant proposals led by a group of faculty dedicated to their success and 6) facilitation of career networking of IMSD scholars through supporting them to: give talks at their undergraduate institutions, attend national meetings, and gain opportunities to meet faculty at other institutions through an invited speaker program. Internal and external advisory committees will provide oversight for the program. Committee members have regular interactions with IMSD scholars allowing them to serve as career mentors as well. In addition, the program will be evaluated using a combination of qualitative and quantitative approaches.
The social, racial, ethnic and cultural differences of a diverse biomedical workforce bring critical alternative perspectives to the diagnosis and treatment of disease. In order to increase the talent pool of unrepresented groups in science, technology, engineering and math it is important to train developing scholars who will pursue careers in the sciences.
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