The lack of diversity remains a significant challenge in biomedical and behavioral science research programs and faculty composition in US academic centers. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) funded the Summer Institute Program to Increase Diversity (SIPID) in 2006. Subsequently, the Program to Increase Diversity Among Individuals Engaged in Health-Related Research-Functional and Translational Genomics of Blood Disorders (PRIDE-FTG) was established at Augusta University. Through the PRIDE-FTG program, we provided mentored training for 76 underrepresented minority junior faculty investigators. Mentees learned hands-on bench research and grantsmanship skills during two consecutive Summer Institutes. Program evaluation supports the achievement of our primary goal of aiding mentees to submit an NIH or equivalent grant application within two years of program completion, demonstrated by a 41.7% NIH grant-funding rate as principal investigator. We propose to continue this mentored training with the next iteration of PRIDE-FTG, expanded to include several innovative components and collaboration with the Obesity Health Disparities- PRIDE program to pool federal resources. We will test the hypothesis that a mentored training program to build research and grant-writing skills will increase the ability of URM and disabled faculty, conducting blood disorders research to obtain extramural funding and transition to independent research careers.
Four aims will be accomplished:
AIM 1. Conduct Innovative Summer Institute 1 at Augusta University (Component 1). Mentees matriculating into the PRIDE-FTG program will participate in a multidisciplinary curriculum including hands-on-bench research training and grant-writing activities to develop funding strategies.
AIM 2. Support Small Research Project Funding Initiative (Component 4). In collaboration with the PRIDE Steering Committee and NHLBI program staff, the PRIDE-FTG program will fund focused pilot projects to support competitive grant proposals addressing blood disorders research.
AIM 3. Facilitate Mentoring and Networking Activities (Component 2). Mentorship Committees comprised of a mentee, a PRIDE research mentor and home institution mentor will be established. Peer-mentorship teams will launch within cohorts to promote research collaboration. The program will support a mid-year visit to the mentor?s institution and attendance at the consortium-wide PRIDE annual meeting.
AIM 4 : Conduct Innovative Summer Institute 2 (Component 3). Mentees will return to Augusta University to complete a one-on-one grant review to meet the primary goal of the PRIDE program to submit an NIH or equivalent grant application and participate in additional research experiences. The mentored training supported by the PRIDE-FTG program will influence the number of underrepresented and disabled scientists achieving successful biomedical research careers.
The lack of diversity among the US biomedical research workforce remains a significant challenge. However, it is clear that expanding research technical skills combined with novel mentoring approaches are essential components of programs seeking to increase diversity. The Program to Increase Diversity Among Individuals Engaged in Health-Related Research-Functional and Translational Genomics of Blood Disorders, at Augusta University will address these challenges by providing intensive mentoring and research experiences in functional and translational genomics, to develop competitive research projects, NIH funding and increase diversity of the US biomedical workforce.
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