The goal of the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine (Mayo) Initiative for Maximizing Student Development (IMSD) is to prepare underrepresented (UR) pre-doctoral students to become future national leaders in disease-related basic and translational research and education. Our approach is to enhance the self-identification of talented UR pre-doctoral students toward medically relevant research careers, and to increase the numbers of these students entering and persisting in these careers. The Mayo IMSD is distinguished by its long and successful track record, Mayo's outstanding basic science research training environment, and Mayo's reputation as a national health-care leader. The Mayo IMSD addresses the stated needs of UR pre-doctoral students to appreciate how basic science research translates into improved health. Mayo IMSD program leaders continuously assess the Mayo Clinic research training environment, including Mayo Graduate School student and faculty demographics, UR and non-UR student PhD completion rates, and outcomes in competitive postdoctoral training productive research careers. Challenges and impediments to PhD degree completion at Mayo Graduate School are analyzed. As a result of our past experience training IMSD students and our comprehensive assessment, the Mayo IMSD proposes renewed funding to achieve the following three specific aims:
Aim 1 : Recruit and matriculate new UR PhD students for each of 5 years (alternating 5 and 4 new students per year in grant years 17-21) to participate in IMSD for the first 2 years of their PhD program. Achievement of this aim will ensure that UR students will comprise 15-20% of each incoming Mayo Graduate School class.
Aim 2 : Facilitate the research career success and productivity of IMSD students through a proven enrichment curriculum emphasizing professional writing and presentation skills, intensive career and academic counseling, and social support. In parallel, preparation for future leadership careers will be supported by student achievement of specific milestones.
Aim 3 : Continue to assess and continuously improve the Mayo IMSD program through internal mechanisms, intense tracking of participants for at least 10 years, and professional program evaluation. Aggressive goals have been set deliberately. The culture of the Mayo IMSD is to encourage trainees to aim high in developing skills and accomplishments for later career success. IMSD trainees will graduate with PhD degrees, but will also understand and achieve concrete academic and career development metrics. In this way, the Mayo IMSD will facilitate acquisition of skills and accomplishments necessary for persistence of trainees to careers as leaders in research and education.
This research education program will provide 2 years of support and professional skills development for underrepresented PhD students. The goal is to help students from diverse backgrounds (e.g. ethnic/racial minorities, individuals with disabilities, and individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds) to advance to successful biomedical research careers at the PhD level thus contributing to the diversification of the biomedical research workforce.
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