The racial and ethnic diversity of the American population is not reflected in the biomedical research workforce or in the faculty at research universities and medical schools. Lack of intensive research experiences during their undergraduate studies leaves many underrepresented minority students unprepared to apply to highly competitive Ph.D. and MD-Ph.D. programs. The goal of this Post-Baccalaureate Research Education Program (PREP) is to provide underrepresented minority students who want to pursue a career in biomedical research with the intensive research experience and academic enrichment to make them competitive applicants to rigorous Ph.D. and MD-Ph.D. programs. Einstein has a long history of successfully mentoring underrepresented minority students through both its Ph.D. and MD-Ph.D. programs. We will use a layered mentoring system to support the PREP trainees and integrate them into the Einstein community. Each trainee will have a URM Ph.D. and MD-Ph.D. peer mentor, a faculty Program Advisor and a research mentor. The program will begin with a two week Orientation and Boot Camp period. Trainees will work with their Program Advisor and research mentor to formulate an Individual Development Plan (IDP). The mentored research project will emphasize the process of hypothesis-based research, the excitement and joy of scientific discovery, and the persistence and creativity needed to achieve success. The academic component of the program will include: 1) workshops on study skills/time management and library/bibliographic search techniques, 2) a graduate course in Biomedical Research Methods and Analysis, 3) a month long Medical Correlation and 4) a weekly PREP journal club. The course will provide a conceptual understanding of the major experimental approaches used in modern biomedical research. The PREP Journal Club will teach critical reading of the literature. Throughout the program special emphasis will be placed on development of oral, written and poster communication skills through lectures, workshops and individual practice. Trainees will perfect their professional skill through Career &Professional Development workshops and perform videotaped mock interviews to improve their ability to communicate their strengths in the interview process for Ph.D. or MD-Ph.D. programs. In collaboration with the Hispanic Center of Excellence, trainees will be involved in community outreach through visits to local Bronx high schools with a high percentage of URM students. This combination of didactic and experiential learning will prepare the applicants to apply successfully to highly competitive Ph.D. and MD-Ph.D. programs. We expect that more than 75% of the trainees will matriculate and successfully complete such programs. This will expand the diversity of our own graduate programs and ultimately the faculty at Einstein and beyond.
A diverse biomedical research workforce will provide a culturally competent workforce that will provide equal opportunities for all Americans to participate in the process of scientific discovery that aims to reduce the burden of disease for all Americans. PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE: The goal of this Post-Baccalaureate Research Education Program (PREP) is to provide underrepresented minority students who want to pursue a career in biomedical research with the intensive research experience and academic enhancement to make them competitive applicants to rigorous Ph.D. and MD-Ph.D. programs. This will expand the diversity of the biomedical research and teaching workforce in the United States as it seeks the best and brightest scientists to improve the health of all Americans.