The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSCSA), St. Mary's University (StMU), and Our Lady of the Lake University (OLLU) have developed the San Antonio Biomedical Education and Research (SABER) program. This 4-year postdoctoral program combines mentored training in state-of-the-art research with innovative pedagogic teaching methods and guided teaching experiences. UTHSCSA is the only Tier-One research university in South Texas, has a strong culture of educational excellence, and has alumni who are in faculty positions at local institutions that predominantly serve Hispanic undergraduate students. This educational milestone reflects the unique training environment at UTHSCSA, which promotes faculty and trainee sensitivity to the needs of a rapidly growing population of Hispanic students. UTHSCSA, StMU, and OLLU are Hispanic-Serving Institutions, a direct reflection of the regional population, i.e., San Antonio is the 7th largest city in the United States and has the largest Hispanic population in a Hispanic-majority city. Although Hispanics accounted for half of the country's growth in the last decade and college enrollment of Hispanics is at an all-time high, Hispanics are underrepresented at all levels of the scientific community. SABER will train exceptional postdoctoral researchers/teachers and will directly address the gap between aspirations and achievements of Hispanic students while increasing interest in careers in biomedical research among undergraduates. Based on our proven methods for training highly successful postdoctoral scholars in research/teaching, we propose to capitalize on our experiences to achieve the goals of IRACDA (Institutional Research and Academic Career Development Awards). Pedagogic training will include workshops organized by our collaborator, Trinity University, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI)-awarded undergraduate research and teaching institution. Moreover, the efficiency gained in formalizing SABER will be leveraged and made available to all postdoctoral trainees. The SABER program will accomplish the following Objectives: 1) To recruit and provide exemplary research training for a diverse and accomplished pool of postdoctoral Scholars with uncompromised research productivity and experience with model organisms/systems amenable to the challenges of research and science education. 2) To create Teaching Scholars who are conversant in contemporary biomedical research, committed to high-quality undergraduate education and who serve as role models and guides for life-long learning. 3) To formalize collaborative educational and science research training among Partner Institutions. Successful completion of these objectives will develop exceptional SABER Scholars and significantly benefit all participating institutions. The science curricula of StMU and OLLU will be infused with the latest advances in science. Additionally, scientific exchanges between all institutions will be increased to foster new collaborations and to sustain enhancements in the collective biomedical research environment in our region.
Minorities, especially Hispanics, remain underrepresented at all levels of the US biomedical research enterprise. Moreover, the proportion of these populations that receive advanced degrees in biomedical sciences and the STEM disciplines does not reflect current demographic shifts in the overall population. The SABER IRACDA will recruit postdoctoral applicants from a diverse population including underrepresented minority groups. These IRACDA postdoctoral scholars will be provided with wide-ranging and innovative research and teacher training experiences to produce an accomplished pool of teacher/scholars sensitive to the needs of this growing population of underrepresented minorities and able to serve as role models for students at the undergraduate level.
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