The over-riding purpose of our proposal for BUILD funds is to increase the number of URM and disadvantaged students into biomedical careers. We recognize that persistence in biomedical-related disciplines is a problem that most higher education institutions face;however, the literature suggests that attrition rates are larger for URM and disadvantaged students. Students that attend our BUILD institutions usually have excellent academic records and many begin their freshman year at the college or university with goals of a career in science-related disciplines especially in health or health care. However, many exceptionally bright and high achieving students, especially URM or economically disadvantaged students may lack the tools, persistence and mentoring necessary to effectively persist in a college environment and thus many are inadvertently allowed to drift and become emotionally disengaged. We want to significantly decrease this loss and also to cultivate and develop their talent to go on to a successful biomedical career. URM students from urban environments often graduate from high school with inadequate knowledge and skills and as a result, their chances of persisting in biomedical programs are diminished. A key component to ensure the success of the BUILD scholar's persistence in biomedical fields will be the requirement that all BUILD scholars start in the Summer Bridge program. This program will immerse students in intensive and directed instruction on a variety of topics intended to prepare them for the rigors of higher education. Our program design draws heavily on information we have learned from successful programs in each of the partnering institutions. During the academic year, BUILD scholars will be exposed to active learning core courses based on the RCN model. To this end, we will develop a program that couples academic programming with mentored research experiences to their enhanced persistence and career success. Through research immersion, mentoring by peers, faculty and post-doctoral students, structure academic programming, student enrichment and support activities, induction into learning communities, we believe we will increase the graduation rate of our BUILD scholars to 75%.
Biomedical research has led to amazing discoveries over the decades. These discoveries are a credit to the prowess of our scientists. However, a large portion of our population feels disenfranchised from this field. The greatest creativity and advancement will come from a biomedical workforce that fully embraces our diversity. REBUILD Detroit aims to provide experiences that prepare underrepresented students to pursue biomedical careers through early, consistent and intentional interventions throughout their college years.