Achieving a diverse biomedical research workforce is important to effectively advance knowledge and create innovative technologies and treatments. To reduce health care disparities and to bring critical social and cultural perspectives to bear on issues related to biomedical research among groups who are typically underrepresented in the research arena, diversity among research professionals is crucial. A new Initiative to Maximize Student Diversity (IMSD) will use a two-tier approach to increase the number of underrepresented minority (URM) students who receive Ph.D. degrees and engage in research in the biomedical and behavioral sciences. The first tier will support and train 35 undergraduate students by: (1) providing courses and seminars to introduce students to explore potential careers in biomedical and behavioral sciences;(2) substantially enhancing our current educational and professional development activities;(3) expanding support for mentored research opportunities;and (4) training and preparing them to enroll in and complete a Ph.D. program in biomedical or behavioral research. The second tier will create 9 new graduate student assistantships in biomedical and behavioral research for students from underrepresented groups. Students will receive two years of financial support from IMSD, with subsequent support coming from their respective departments, external funding, or individual research fellowships. Our proposed NIH IMSD project will complement existing and highly successful NSF-funded AGEP and NIH-supported Bridges and T32 training programs, creating a unified plan through the education continuum. We will foster a positive exploratory environment with supportive programming, guidance and recognition for URM students to complete Ph.D. degrees in biomedical and behavioral science research, to ultimately become the faculty researchers and role models for the next generation. Achieving a diverse biomedical research workforce is important to effectively advance knowledge and create innovative technologies and treatments. To reduce health care disparities and to bring critical social and cultural perspectives to bear on issues related to biomedical research among groups who are typically underrepresented in the research arena, diversity among research professionals is crucial. Realizing this goal of workforce diversity in the United States continues to be a challenge, one which this IMSD proposal will address.
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