The IMSD Program in Brown University's Division of Biology and Medicine will significantly increase the number of underrepresented (UR) PhD students trained for careers in biomedical and public health research. This IMSD Program is projected to increase its UR student population in the Division's 10 doctoral programs to 25%. The IMSD grant will fund 10-12 doctoral students per year for an average of one year. First-year students will be appointed via a selective process and provided with the necessary support, advising, mentoring, and development tools to overcome deficiencies in academic preparation or other disadvantages en route to earning their PhDs. The PIs will oversee ongoing and detailed evaluation with internal and external advisory board oversight to permit assessment of progress toward goals, the ability to adjust strategy as needed, and provide incentives for advancing a culture of diversity within PhD training.
The specific aims are: 1) Enhance and Expand Strategic Partnerships with institutions that serve or train large numbers of UR students. In addition advancing our current partner relationships and developing new partnerships, we will improve on our long-standing relationship with the Brown-Tougaloo Program, and advance relationships with professional organizations serving the academic interests of UR students. 2) Implement a Multi-Faceted, Personalized Educational Program for IMSD Trainees that provides a continuous-to-degree advising and support structure empowering students to develop their full potential. The Program core is a "menu" of skill-based not-for-credit training modules designed for IMSD Trainees but open to all graduate students. Other components include seminars, advisory meetings, IMSD Trainee-faculty functions, a Peer Mentor network, student-faculty compacts, an interactive Program Web site, and an Annual retreat with External and Internal Advisors provide integration and continuity within the Program. All IMSD faculty trainers have federal funding and a record of successfully mentoring UR trainees. 3) Improve Divisional Diversity Practices in PhD Training by raising awareness of the benefits faculty mentors and their research programs derive from investments in this area and by providing an institutional structure that sets expectations for diversity and rewards achievement. As faculty beyond our group of IMSD mentor and advisor faculty observe the successes of this group and seek out IMSD Scholars for their own labs, they will receive incentives. The eventual outcomes of this aim will be measured by increases the in the number of a) UR students overall, b) individual doctoral programs with a critical mass of UR students and c) faculty labs with UR students doing thesis research. The IMSD's relationship with the Dean's office provides co- leadership and accountability to effect positive change and advance the institutional culture.
The Brown IMSD program will train pre-doctoral scholars who upon completion will join the US scientific/biomedical workforce, contributing to the advancement of human health.
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