Achieving a diverse biomedical and behavioral science research workforce is important to effectively advance knowledge and create innovative technologies and treatments. Diversity among research professionals is crucial to reduce healthcare disparities and to bring critical social and cultural perspectives to bear on issues related to biomedical and behavioral research among groups who are typically underrepresented. NC State University's Initiative for Maximizing Student Development (IMSD) program has been funded since 2008, and with renewed funding will continue to use a two-tier approach to increase the number of students from underrepresented groups who receive PhD degrees and engage in research in the biomedical and behavioral sciences. The goals of the IMSD Program are to: (1) Increase the talent pool of URM students who enroll in biomedical or behavioral sciences;(2) Increase the number of URM graduate students who successfully pursue and complete doctorates in biomedical or behavioral research;and (3) Increase the number of URM undergraduates achieving a bachelor's degree and graduate students achieving a doctorate in biomedical or behavioral sciences at the institutional level. The first tir supports and trains 25 undergraduate students by: (1) providing courses and seminars to introduce students to explore potential careers in biomedical and behavioral sciences;(2) enhancing our current educational and professional development activities;(3) expanding support for mentored research opportunities;and (4) training and preparing students to pursue a PhD in the biomedical or behavioral sciences. The second tier creates 30 graduate student research assistantships in supported disciplines. Students will receive two years of financial support from IMSD, with subsequent support coming from their respective departments, external funding, or individual research fellowships. IMSD graduate students will be assisted and mentored throughout their entire graduate careers, beyond the IMSD support period. Integration with other existing programs will provide for additional graduate preparation and retention activities to ensure the completion of the PhD. Existing IMSD students will serve as mentors for incoming IMSD-supported students. Additionally, undergraduate and graduate IMSD students will complete courses and training modules on Responsible Conduct of Research. Rigorous evaluation will systematically assess IMSD progress and assist in continuous improvement and institutionalization of IMSD.
Achieving a diverse biomedical research workforce is important to effectively advance knowledge and create innovative technologies and treatments. To reduce healthcare 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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