The Building Diversity in Biomedical Sciences Program responds to RFA-HL-13-020 and seeks to continue its 20-year tradition of excellence initiated under the aegis of the original NHLBI T35-sponsored short term minority training programs. In the past ten years, our program has trained 210 undergraduate students who are members of groups recognized by NIH as under-represented in biomedical science. Over 96% of our trainees have completed their undergraduate degree. Continued contact with nearly 88% of these alumni reveals that 90% remain engaged in the biomedical workforce and 73% have entered advanced graduate training programs. In the coming period, we will build on this record of success by providing an intensive 10-week mentored summer research experience with a focus on cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases and issues of direct concern to NHLBI. Research will be supplemented by training in oral and written communication through experiences that build skills and enhance self-confidence. Trainees will learn about the breadth of biomedical science careers through workshops, seminars, and career counseling and feel integrated into a vital scientific community through interactions with graduate students, post-baccalaureate and postdoctoral trainees. A new workshop that brings together a clinical scientist and a basic scientist to discuss translational approaches to health disparity issues will be added in the coming grant period to focus trainees on ways research can have an impact on the health of our population. A group of 38 faculty members whose research is aligned with the NHLBI mission will train 18 undergraduates each summer. A formative and summative evaluation plan will support the program and emphasize discovery of the mechanisms that are most effective in increasing diversity in the biomedical science workforce.
Improving the health of the American people, especially in the area of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, pulmonary disorders and related conditions, relies on a strong biomedical workforce that is prepared to address these health problems through basic and translational research. This workforce should mirror our population with individuals from all backgrounds, including those traditionally under-represented in biomedical science. Our program provides a rich summer research experience and in depth career mentoring to talented undergraduates from traditionally under-served groups and prepares them for advanced study in biomedical research. Our trainees learn to understand key health issues related to the NHLBI mission and come to understand how these problems can be addressed through research. Their passion for research careers is strengthened and they are better-equipped to pursue graduate training upon completion of our program.
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