Increasing the diversity of the biomedical workforce, particularly at the PhD level, is expected to have important and positive effects on the national research agenda. This proposal seeks renewal of an Initiative for Maximizing Student Development (IMSD) Award, which supports the Rutgers University Pipeline Program (formerly the UMDNJ-Rutgers University Pipeline Program). The goal of the Pipeline Program is to increase the training and graduation of underrepresented (UR) PhD biomedical scientists. Having enrolled 88 students since its inception in 1996, the program has had notable success recruiting students from under-represented groups and supporting their progression through the PhD and into research and other biomedically-related careers. The program has significantly enhanced the diversity of the PhD programs in the biomedical sciences on the Piscataway/New Brunswick campuses of the partner institutions, University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey-Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School (GSBS) and the Rutgers Graduate School-New Brunswick (GSNB). With the recent incorporation of former schools of UMDNJ, including the GSBS at RWJMS, into Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, the IMSD Pipeline Program will broaden its reach and increase its impact.
Aim 1 is to increase the number of IMSD-supported UR PhD students in Rutgers biological/biomedical science programs who obtain the PhD and enter careers in biomedical science-related careers. We propose to support PhD students in any of 9 participating graduate programs across the Rutgers-New Brunswick campuses. By increasing our reach to more programs, we will provide students greater choice of mentors and research areas. Moreover, we may promote best-practice methods in graduate training beyond our own trainees, to other students in these programs.
In Aim 2 we will implement strategies and programs to enhance the development of IMSD-trainees beyond the period of IMSD funding, and throughout their pre- doctoral years, with the goals of improving time-to-graduation and other progression measures, and facilitating transition to post-doctoral positions and careers in biomedical sciences. Finally, Aim 3 will increase the number of Rutgers under-represented undergraduates who continue to PhD programs in biomedically relevant areas. This new, undergraduate component in our Program, made possible by the integration of GSBS at RWJMS into Rutgers, will involve: fostering awareness and interest in biomedical research careers; guiding and supporting - financially and through individualized mentoring, and group activities - students through mentored research activities beginning in the sophomore year and continuing through their undergraduate years; helping students develop their identities within the community of scientists. These activities will use IMSD staff, graduate students and financial resources, and will partner with current Rutgers undergraduate student development and research programs.
This application seeks renewal of an Initiative for Maximizing Student Diversity Award to support the training of graduate and undergraduate students from diverse backgrounds with the goal of increasing participation of under-represented minorities in biomedical research careers. The program has increased the number and success of under-represented and other diversity students in obtaining Ph.D. degrees in biomedically relevant sciences. We now propose to support the training of students in Ph.D. programs and Rutgers undergraduates.
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