The proposed Bridges to Biomedicine (B2BP) program will be executed through partnering of Texas State University - San Marcos (TxState), San Antonio College (SAC), and Northwest Vista College (NVC). The B2BP has been developed to: (1) improve underrepresented minority (URM) student persistence in biomedical curricula, increase the rates of successful transfer from SAC and NVC to upper-division baccalaureate programs in the biomedical sciences, and decrease the average time to baccalaureate degree completion;(2) promote measurable improvement in actual and self-perceived academic preparation for coursework leading to baccalaureate degrees in the biomedical sciences;and, (3) increase student and family understanding of biomedical research, its relevance to their lives, the biomedical educational pathway, and the value of a career in biomedical research. Consistent with the 2011 National Academies report on expanding minority participation in the sciences, the proposed B2BP program incorporates all recommended and proven interventions: rich research experiences;professional development activities;academic support and social integration;and, student mentoring. To facilitate a smooth transfer to upper-division BS programs, we will develop revised recommendations for science coursework so that students transfer on-track and in-sequence to baccalaureate programs. SAC and NVC faculty will renovate a core sociology course to include a minority health disparities emphasis that will be offered concurrent with a biomedical minority health research seminar series. This innovative institutional approach is expected to increase student interest in biomedicine. Since families are critical contributors to educational decisions, the program includes innovative activities (e.g., presentations from """"""""promotores"""""""") to increase family support for a career in biomedicine. The B2BP students will participate in hands-on research experiences both during the academic year and over the summer. B2BP also includes academic support and professional development activities to foster social integration into science communities. All three partnering institutions are designated Hispanic-serving institutions, and both of the community colleges have majority-URM student bodies;therefore, the proposed program will directly impact at least 50 URM biomedical students. The institutional changes brought about by the B2BP program will result in systemic improvement directly impacting all students in biomedical career tracks. This program supports public health because it is designed to increase minority representation in biomedical research through increasing URM persistence in science education. Underrepresentation of minorities in biomedical research risks undervaluing minority perspectives, presents cultural barriers to health care, and creates health care disparities for vulnerable populations. The Bridges to Biomedicine program will increase the number of URMs continuing education towards a doctorate and a career in biomedical research.
This program supports public health because it is designed to increase minority representation in biomedical research. The underrepresentation of minorities directing biomedical research risks omitting or under-valuing minority perspectives to health and presents cultural barriers to health care for vulnerable populations, leading to adverse health outcomes. The Bridges to Biomedicine program will increase the number of minority students continuing education towards a doctorate and the capacity to direct biomedical research.