A major challenge for the scientific community is to increase diversity in the biomedical workforce and subsequent leadership in the professoriate. To address this need, we propose interventions in the Case PREP to prepare recent college graduates in natural sciences to be successful in doctoral study in the biomedical sciences. This proposal requests support for 8 Scholars per year to engage in research in biochemistry, biomedical engineering, genetics, molecular biology and microbiology, neuroscience, nutrition, pathology, pharmacology or physiology and biophysics within in an integrated postgraduate training program. Participating faculty mentors all have active and well-funded research programs and strong training experience. The participating mentors are located at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine (CWRU SOM) and already interact in the training of graduate students through our interdisciplinary PhD programs. In addition to a full year as a laboratory apprentice, scholars will complete graduate academic coursework to augment their quantitative skills and to explore biomedical research areas. Scholars will have direct tutoring in standardized test content and strategies, and assistance in the preparation of graduate school applications. Scholars will be recruited from a national pool of applicants using existing relationships and comprehensive recruitment strategies. Measurable outcomes that assay student research skill development, matriculation into graduate programs, changes in standardized test performance, and science attitudes will be evaluated. This combination of interventions is designed to convey the excitement and culture of scientific research along with the academic and programmatic skill development to prepare Scholars to transition to doctoral study and a biomedical research career.
The biomedical workforce at CWRU SOM and other research-intensive institutions nationally is not as diverse as the public at large or even as diverse as baccalaureate earners in Biology, and reflects academic and social factors that must be overcome. We propose that a postbaccalaureate program with extensive research experience in modern, competitive research laboratories, coupled with individualized coursework and professional development will help recent college graduates in natural sciences become fully qualified for doctoral study.
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