The UTMB ?PREPing for SUCCESS? PREP program is designed to provide promising post-baccalaureate trainees from groups underrepresented in the sciences (underrepresented minorities, persons with disabilities, socioeconomically disadvantaged students) demonstrating an aptitude for research, with a rigorous and enriching one-year training experience that will enhance their skills and confidence to successfully matriculate into and complete a PhD program. The program provides scholars/trainees with an immersive research experience in a funded top-tier laboratory (75% full-time effort) with development activities (25% full-time effort) that will help them build academic and professional skills, develop a science identity, reinforce the motivation to pursue and obtain a PhD. UTMB?s PREP program will help increase the number of students from underrepresented groups who successfully pursue and complete a PhD in the biomedical sciences, and enter the biomedical research workforce - a benefit expected to heighten our nation?s scientific innovation, discovery and global impact, with outcomes that are more likely to benefit underserved populations. Our recruitment strategy makes use of long-standing partnerships with faculty advisors from minority-serving universities across Texas to identify and attract students with high potential for pursuing a PhD that will benefit from focused research and professional skills development to matriculate into a PhD program. Actively working with our academic partners, 8 students/year will be recruited from a competitive pool of applicants to enroll in the year- long PREP program. The program strategy to reach our goal of > 75% matriculation and graduation rate, includes student-level interventions to develop each individual?s academic and research skills and confidence, as well as interventions designed to reduce external factors that impede success, including enhanced mentor training to optimize mentor-scholar relationships. Scholars will have multiple lines of mentoring and personal counseling. Additional special features of PREP involve the use of an innovative individual student development plan that includes a skills matching workshop to maximize potential for success, the involvement of PREP alumni and graduate students and postdocs from underrepresented groups in the program, training in responsible conduct of research, the ability of scholars to earn a graduate certificate, and continued mentoring beyond the PREP program for enhancing retention. Our goal is that we not only meet, but also exceed, the target of 75% of PREP scholars entering a doctoral program at a top tier research intensive graduate school.

Public Health Relevance

The University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) PREP scholars program, PREPing for SUCCESS, addresses an important national need to increase the number of PhD-level scientists from groups that are underrepresented in the biomedical sciences to enhance the diversity of our research workforce and indicated by a growing body of research to heighten scientific innovation, discovery and global competitiveness. Working closely with partner universities in Texas and beyond, each year we will recruit 8 talented scholars having an aptitude for research to participate in an individually customized and mentored research and skills development program preparing them to enroll in and complete a PhD in the sciences at a top-tier research intensive graduate school.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Education Projects (R25)
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NIGMS Initial Review Group (TWD)
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Gibbs, Kenneth D
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University of Texas Med Br Galveston
Schools of Medicine
United States
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