The overall aim of the SDSU Initiative for Maximizing Student Development (IMSD) Program is to increase the number of students from underrepresented groups who attain Ph.D. degrees in the biomedical, physical and behavioral sciences. We will facilitate their exposure to science, academia and careers as researchers. The program will provide 25 undergraduates with faculty mentoring, customized advising, extracurricular experiences and opportunities for communicating with engaged peers each year during the course of the project period. We have assembled a dedicated group of research-active mentors who will provide our students with hands-on research training. Our management and assessment plan will measure and ensure program and student success. We will provide a highly personalized experience to the students so that they can become the successful science leaders of tomorrow, and thereby, improve the diversity of research scientists. Furthermore, we provide documentation of the effects our program has had upon students. Our program will continue to help students to build strong, highly competitive applications for doctoral programs so that they will directly enter into STEM Ph.D. programs (we have an average direct Ph.D. acceptance rate of 88.2% in the last 5 years). To accomplish our goals, we plan to (1) provide year-round mentored research experiences that will allow 25 IMSD undergraduate students to acquire excellent research and laboratory skills, (2) continue with our Pre-IMSD Program to recruit STEM freshman/sophomore students early (unfunded by IMSD) to introduce biomedical research and the pathway to preparing for graduate school, and (3) develop the critical thinking and oral and written communication skills of all program participants, by providing opportunities to present their research before professional audiences and to contribute to manuscripts for publication. We also propose aims related to program evaluation including (1) to systematically measure program outcomes with mixed methods of quantitative and qualitative data collection and the establishment of a comprehensive electronic tracking database, (2) to use the data to continuously improve the program by maintaining elements that are most effective, and (3) to communicate the success of the SDSU IMSD Program.
SDSU IMSD Program PROJECT NARRATIVE Relevance to Public Health The SDSU IMSD Program is designed to train talented underrepresented undergraduates in science, technology, engineering and mathematics and aid them in direct entry to Ph.D. programs. A major goal of the program is to increase the diversity of the workforce in biomedical science, which will increase its capability and relieve the imbalance in health care and health care research. Ending health disparities is one of the top priorities for almost every federal, state and local health agency and was a major component of Healthy People 2010. Graduates of our SDSU IMSD Program will be able use their scientific and leadership skills to help end health disparities through research and policy implementation.
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