In 1994, the Department of Biostatistics at Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) established the Summer Program in Quantitative Sciences for minority and underrepresented undergraduates, with the goal of encouraging the future participation of these students in graduate programs in Public Health, Biomedicine, and Biostatistics. This first-in-kind program served as a model for similar programs throughout the country, which have continued and strengthened this very important mission of increasing the diversity in Public Health and Biostatistics. In 2010, the American Mathematical Society recognized Harvard's program with its Mathematics Programs that Make a Difference Award, its annual award for programs that do an "outstanding job of bringing more individuals from underrepresented minority groups into the mathematical sciences ... through replicable methods." The citation for the award states: "The program has made a remarkable contribution to the national effort to produce more minority students pursuing careers in biostatistics and public health." Now, in 2011, we are embarking on the second stage of our pipeline development. We have recognized through our experience that while a single, short term summer program experience can be enormously successful at establishing the first segment in the pipeline, it is not sufficient to increase the minority presence that we need among graduate students, fellows and faculty in Biostatistics. Thus, we propose to reinforce and extend the pipeline that we have initiated with the summer program with the following completely new components to our program: 1. An annual symposium that will be attended by current and past program participants, faculty, fellows, graduate students, and the external advisory committee, and will feature oral presentations and posters by participants at all levels. The symposium will have dual academic and mentoring objectives. 2. Post-Baccalaureate Biostatistics Interns will reside at Harvard for three months each summer. These interns will participate in collaborative research projects and participate in three one-month rotations at academic and clinical centers at Harvard, and they will receive directed mentoring and support for graduate school applications and selection. They will return to Harvard to participate in the symposium and present their research in a subsequent summer. 3. Faculty members from quantitative fields at minority serving undergraduate institutions will attend our annual symposium and spend two days in intensive meetings with HSPH faculty in a faculty workshop. This faculty will teach us about their students, and we will teach them about the field of quantitative Public Health so that they can educate their undergraduate students about this exciting career option. We have developed a broad network of individuals across Harvard who are eager and committed to providing the necessary research and mentoring support to make our proposed programs successful and to help transform Biostatistics into a profession that is rich in diversity.

Public Health Relevance

The overarching goal of this T36 proposal is to increase the presence of underrepresented minority groups in the field of Biostatistics and quantitative Public Health, at all levels, including the graduate student, fellow and faculty levels. To address this, we propose a Summer Program in Quantitative Sciences for underrepresented minority undergraduates, including formal training in Biostatistics, collaborative research, and professional and graduate school mentoring. We have learned that we need to reinforce and extend this pipeline in order for it to have a sustained impact;to this end we propose to have program participants return in subsequent summers for an annual symposium at Harvard, to establish a three month Post-Baccalaureate Biostatistics Intern program, and to invite faculty from minority serving undergraduate institutions to visit each summer and participate in the symposium and intensive meetings with Harvard faculty for mutual exchange of information.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
MARC Ancillary Training Activities (Grant) (NIGMS) (T36)
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Minority Programs Review Committee (MPRC)
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Sesma, Michael A
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Harvard University
Biostatistics & Other Math Sci
Schools of Public Health
United States
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