The UCSC IMSD Graduate Training Program aims to create an inclusive training experience that increases the recruitment and retention of a diverse population of Ph.D. students into the biomedical sciences and related fields. Building on decades of experience in promoting STEM diversity at the graduate and undergraduate levels, we will support Ph.D. students during the crucial transition at the beginning of graduate training. We will arm these students with the research and professionals skills to have successful careers in academia, industry and related fields. At the same time, our program will promote an inclusive training environment by engaging our faculty, staff and wider student population in discussions about the sources and consequences of bias that remains in the many corners of academia. The UCSC IMSD Graduate Training Program proposes to provide two years of support to 12 students who are admitted into one of four tracks of the Program in Biomedical Sciences and Engineering (PBSE), which serves as an interdisciplinary umbrella program involving over 70 investigators who study diverse topics in biomedical science. We will select students who 1) have high potential for success in graduate studies, based on their demonstrated resilience in overcoming a variety challenges, and 2) are motivated to become leaders in improving inclusivity in the biomedical sciences during their future careers. In their first year, IMSD students will participate in the PBSE laboratory rotation program and take core courses that emphasize rigor and reproducibility in experimental design and conduct. They will also receive formal training in the responsible conduct of research and teaching. Each student will also be paired with a faculty ?master? mentor, who will aid in choosing rotation labs, completing an IDP, and identifying a supportive thesis advisor. In the summer of their first year, IMSD students will participate in a new ?Proposal Bootcamp? designed to develop a thesis research proposal for fellowship applications and a plan of study for qualifying exams that will take place in spring of their second year. In the summer of their second year, students will participate in the IMSD Graduate Leadership Academy for Diversity (GLAD), which we piloted last year. The program includes seminars, workshops, social justice journal club and community events IMSD Graduate aimed at helping students develop independent research initiative and mentorship skills. It also provides opportunities to explore career pathways and create a concrete career plan. Finally, the program prepares students to further impact the campus' overall research climate by projecting their own leadership skills to positively influence diversity and inclusion.

Public Health Relevance

To generate the scientific discoveries and medical interventions that meet the needs of our citizens, we must harness the inherit research talent present in the United States of America. However, disparities in the population of biomedical Ph.D. scientists indicate that innovative graduate training programs are needed to better recruit and retain researchers from a variety of backgrounds. The UCSC IMSD graduate training program creates an inclusive and interdisciplinary community that develops research and leadership skills across a diverse graduate student population to prepare the next generation of research scientists in the biomedical sciences.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Institutional National Research Service Award (T32)
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NIGMS Initial Review Group (TWD)
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Brown, Patrick
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University of California Santa Cruz
Schools of Arts and Sciences
Santa Cruz
United States
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