There is a significant underrepresentation of biomedical and behavioral researchers (BBR) from minority and underserved communities. This disparity limits innovation and application of research to address needs of underserved communities. Youth from such communities often lack BBR role models and advocates, may not envision a BBR career, pursue BBR -learning opportunities, and develop the attitudes and skills needed to successfully pursue such a career. In an underserved community, this project aims to: 1) Refine the """"""""Climbing Up and Reaching Back (CURB)"""""""" BBR scientist exposure, mentoring, and internship modules, student survey, and facilitator-administered process evaluation, 2) Conduct a qualitative examination of high school students'(a) education and career aspirations, (b) motivations (attitudes, subjective norms, perceived behavioral control, self-efficacy) for aspirations, (d) challenges related to aspirations, and (e) influences on aspirations from 10th through the 12th grade , 3) Examine the characteristics associated with high achieving high school students pursuing BBR, and 4) Assess whether a Patriots Technology Center (PTC) membership plus National Institute for General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) publications (PTC+NIGMS) condition is less likely than a PTC+NIGMS+CURB condition to facilitate motivation for a BBR career, as well as pursuit of a BBR college education. The University of Maryland Prevention Research Center, Maryland Institute for Minority Achievement and Urban Education, and the Patriots Technology Training Center have partnered to reach the study aims. After a program refinement study phase, eight high schools will be randomly assigned;four to the PTC+NIGMS (""""""""control"""""""" and four to the PTC+NIGMS+CURB (""""""""intervention') condition. High achieving 10th-grade student volunteers (60 from the intervention and 60 from control schools) will be surveyed at baseline and after six subsequent semester periods to assess motivation for BBR, and pursuit of a BBR college education. The intervention condition will offer CURB consisting of three components: 10th grade BBR career exposures, 11th grade college BBR mentoring, and 12th grade BBR internships. Intervention is aimed at Social Cognitive Theory and Theory of Planned Behavior motivations framed by the idea that BBR scientists can encourage graduate students to encourage undergraduate students to encourage high school students such that students up the BBR ladder support others to climb the BBR ladder. This model could be widely generalizable in community-university partnerships to help undeserved communities.

Public Health Relevance

This project will help to clarify the decision-making processes regarding college education and career choice of high achieving high school students in underserved communities. It will also pilot-test a model mentoring support system for preparing such students for biomedical/behavior research college education. The model is based on a University- Community Based Organization-High School partnership generalizable to other University-Community partnerships.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Research Project (R01)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZGM1-MORE-9 (IN))
Program Officer
Poodry, Clifton A
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University of Maryland College Park
Public Health & Prev Medicine
Schools of Public Health
College Park
United States
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Boekeloo, Bradley O; Todaro Brooks, Alyssa; Qi Wang, Min (2017) Exposures Associated with Minority High Schoolers' Predisposition for Health Science. Am J Health Behav 41:104-113
Boekeloo, B; Geiger, T; Wang, M et al. (2015) Evaluation of a Socio-cultural Intervention to Reduce Unprotected Sex for HIV Among African American/Black Women. AIDS Behav 19:1752-62
Boekeloo, Bradley O; Jones, Chandria; Bhagat, Krishna et al. (2015) The Role of Intrinsic Motivation in the Pursuit of Health Science-Related Careers among Youth from Underrepresented Low Socioeconomic Populations. J Urban Health 92:980-94
Boekeloo, Bradley; Randolph, Suzanne; Timmons-Brown, Stephanie et al. (2014) Perceptions of high-achieving African American/Black tenth graders from a low socioeconomic community regarding health scientists and desired careers. J Allied Health 43:133-9
Brooks, Alyssa T; Washington, Shakira; Boekeloo, Bradley O et al. (2013) Relationship of personal health experiences with interest in health careers among youth from an underserved area. J Allied Health 42:135-40
Zebrak, Katarzyna A; Le, Daisy; Boekeloo, Bradley O et al. (2013) Predictors of intent to pursue a college health science education among high achieving minority 10(th) graders. Curr Issues Educ (Tempe) 16: