The Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) IMSD Program has been in effect since 2010 to provide training and increase UR scholars in the biomedical enterprise. The specific goals of the last proposal were (1) To provide mentored research experiences for 16 IMSD Undergraduate Scholars/ year and 4 IMSD PhD students/ year, (2) To use both well-tested and novel strategies to increase academic success of IMSD trainees, (3) To design and deliver enrichment activities that develop trainees' critical thinking/ problem solving skills, improve communications skills, increase awareness of careers that complement their interests and personalities, (4) To ensure that at least 60% of IMSD Undergraduate Scholars enroll in competitive PhD programs in the biomedical sciences, (5) To ensure that ?90% of IMSD Scholars who enroll complete PhD programs in the biomedical sciences, (6) To use aggressive recruiting strategies to increase URM applications to the Biomedical Sciences Doctoral Portal by 100%, and (7) To increase productivity of URM PhD students to be comparable to that of their peers. Each of these measureable outcomes has been achieved with significant success with 55 undergraduates and 15 PhD scholars supported through the VCU IMSD program. In the past funding cycle, 60% of the UGs have entered PhD programs at various institutions nationally, all PhD scholars have graduated with significant peer-reviewed publications, have remained in the biomedical workforce with 75% entering academic institutions as postdoctoral fellows. We will build upon this promising progress with the following specific aims, 1) Expose 16 UR undergraduates to high quality biomedical research, 2) Elevate 6 highly qualified UR graduate students to a successful PhD, and 3) engage the wider VCU community in biomedical research and professional training. The measureable outcomes of each of these aims are consistent with the goals of the IMSD Program ?to develop the pool of a diverse group of highly trained undergraduate and graduate students who go on to research careers and will be available to participate in NIH-funded research.?
The future of medicine depends on biomedical research and the new discoveries that research brings to disease mechanisms. However, disparities exist, not only in healthcare and disease but also in the researchers who push biomedicine forward. The VCU-IMSD program is intended to address this disparity by increasing the number of underrepresented minorities who pursue PhD level training in biomedical research.
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