IMSD at Texas A&M University: Initiative for Maximizing Student Diversity in Biomedical Sciences This proposal is to establish a new IMSD T32 program at Texas A&M University. The overall mission of this program is to maximize student diversity in biomedical sciences at Texas A&M by focusing on recruitment and retention of underrepresented minority (URM) populations of trainees seeking a PhD degree who have the skills to successfully transition into careers in the biomedical research workforce. Funds are requested to support six pre-doctoral (Ph.D. candidates) URM trainees who are applying to one of the six major biomedical graduate training programs at Texas A&M University: Medical Sciences, Biomedical Sciences, Genetics, Toxicology, Biochemistry & Biophysics, and Biomedical Engineering. Texas A&M University will match NIH support with six additional fellowships. This program will serve as a hub for unifying training-oriented diversity initiatives in biomedical fields and establish a community of URM scholars at Texas A&M. Trainees will benefit from didactic, research, mentoring and career development elements offered by the existing training programs, and from the new initiatives focused specifically on this cohort of URM scholars. Our goal is to prepare trainees to function as independent researchers and/or practitioners in a multidisciplinary setting by providing training in classroom-, laboratory- and externship-based settings. To achieve this goal we have assembled a team of 40 outstanding investigators who specialize in diverse biomedical fields. The program will be led by an executive committee of co-PIs representing Office of Graduate & Professional Studies and participating Colleges (Medicine, Veterinary Medicine, Engineering, and Agriculture & Life Sciences). The preceptors have strong records of mentoring URM trainees and obtaining competitive support from Federal, State and other sources. This group is exceptionally well balanced with respect to expertise, sex, and academic career level. Internal and external oversight will be provided by eminent scholars with first-hand knowledge of diversity experiences in biomedical training and employment. Recruitment will be conducted through external advertisement, post-baccalaureate diversity programs, as well as Texas A&M research experience for undergraduates and masters programs. Support from this program will be offered only in the first year of the doctoral program at the time when trainees undertake two laboratory rotations, follow structured core academic curricula of their respective graduate programs, and participate in regular joint activities as a group. A distinctive feature of the program is a strongly encouraged hands-on summer (in the 1st year) externship through a broad and diverse network of academic laboratories, state and federal governmental agencies, as well as industry and non-governmental organizations. Following the first year, trainee support will shift to their graduate program, mentor, or other funding; however, trainees will continue participation in program-related functions thus maintaining a strong bond to a community of scholars of underrepresented backgrounds in addition to their home programs. Trainees affiliated with this program will be highly successful in academia, industry, government and other professional settings in health-related disciplines.
IMSD at Texas A&M University: Initiative for Maximizing Student Diversity in Biomedical Sciences This program will increase diversity of doctoral trainees in biomedical sciences at Texas A&M University. Six major biomedical graduate training programs: Medical Sciences, Biomedical Sciences, Genetics, Toxicology, Biochemistry & Biophysics, and Biomedical Engineering are joining with the Office of Graduate and Professional Studies to create a cohesive learning community and a community of scholars to foster recruitment and retention of underrepresented minority populations of trainees. Didactic, research, experiential and career development activities will foster development of the future biomedical professionals who are highly successful in academia, industry, government and other professional settings.