The Endocrine Society has established a training network for undergraduate research and career development support serving underrepresented minority students termed the Minority Access Program (MAP). This program was designed to enhance the pipeline of minority scientists that become biomedical researchers. The MAP will focus upon recruitment of undergraduates from a select group of minority serving institutions and offer these students summer internships for two consecutive summers at one of four medical research centers. MAP students will conduct basic research in the laboratories of Endocrine Society members at these four institutions. These four medical research centers have established summer research internship programs into which the MAP students will be integrated, as well as nationally recognized divisions of endocrinology with well established research programs in basic and translational science. MAP students will attend the Annual Meeting of The Endocrine Society early during their first year in the program to engage in training events held at the meeting, to gain a broad exposure to the field of endocrinology, and to gain an understanding of what will be expected of them in the future years. In the second year of the program, the MAP students will again conduct research at either the same or at a different training institution. Second year students will also present posters at a special poster session at the Annual Meeting of The Endocrine Society, in addition to attending education and career development events at this meeting. This program will test the hypothesis that engaging in research and career development training events held in the context of a professional society will increase the self-identity of students as biomedical researchers, enhance their commitment and success to enter graduate school to obtain a Ph.D., and increase the number of these students that undertake careers as scientists in either an academic or industrial (pharmaceutical or biotech) setting. The MAP provides an enhancement to the training activities currently offered at the students'home institutions, that we believe will increase commitment to a career in biomedical research by creating personal, supportive mentoring within The Endocrine Society such that students can visualize a role for themselves in a professional community. We predict that conducting biomedical research on endocrine-related disorders in the context of specific training events held both at the Annual Meeting and at summer training institutions coupled with year round mentoring conducted in an internet-based environment will enhance the professional development of these students. Short-term outcomes include increased GPA and GRE scores for MAP students and the number of MAP students entering graduate school compared to peers at the home undergraduate institutions and in summer research programs. Long-term goals are increased postdoctoral studies compared to fellow summer program students at the summer training institutions and eventually entry into a research career in either an academic or industrial setting.
The under representation of minorities in the sciences continues to be a major concern, not only of academia, but also of society in general. In fact, based on the rapidly growing increase in certain segments of underrepresented minority populations, this issue has become a national concern. The Endocrine Society efforts to address these issues has been focused on increasing the number of students exposed to endocrinology and other related scientific fields usually not covered in their regular curriculum. Working with minority serving institutions (MSIs), endocrine research training institutions and Society volunteers, the MAP aims to create a training network that will enhance the pipeline of minority scientists and, in turn, impact the treatment of disorders that disproportionately affect minority communities.
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