The proposed program will increase opportunities for underrepresented students to succeed in the biomedical and behavioral sciences by providing them with the necessary tools, skills, support, and mentorship to complete their PhDs in a timely fashion and to enter into productive careers in research. Its goals are closely aligned with those of the NIH-TWD: to create effective academic development programs to prepare students underrepresented in biomedical or behavioral science for research careers and leadership positions. With multi-faceted institutional support systems at UCSF, the proposed program will help to foster and sustain diversity in tomorrow's biomedical workforce.
This competing IMSD grant renewal from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) is designed to continue to provide support for students from underrepresented groups to complete the PhD in biomedical and behavioral research and to advance to competitive postdoctoral and academic positions. The proposed program will increase opportunities for underrepresented students to thrive in the biomedical and behavioral sciences by providing them with the necessary tools, skills, and resources to complete their PhDs at UCSF in a timely fashion and to prepare for productive careers in research. Strong academic and professional mentoring leading to the successful completion of PhDs will increase the proportion of underrepresented students who join the biomedical workforce. Robust implementation and evaluation of measurable objectives, milestones, and outcomes will help create a more diverse population of future research scientists. The overall goal of this program will be achieved by the following specific objectives: 1) To ensure that IMSD Fellows' first-year research rotations and thesis lab placements are with renowned faculty in prestigious research programs who are also proven mentors supportive of new students and sensitive to unique issues facing many minority students. Strong mentorship by established researchers is key to the retention of students in the graduate program as well as for meaningful guidance toward obtaining postdoctoral positions and academic appointments after graduation. 2) To promote sustained success of IMSD students throughout their PhD work by fostering a community network of Fellows. Group learning, social engagement, peer mentoring, group discussions with role models, and participation in community service projects will create a support network to promote the progression of the group as a whole. 3) To accelerate IMSD Fellows' academic achievement by developing strong communication and organizational skills in order to maximize their research career progress and success. Progress can be measured by timely completion of milestones toward the degree; success can be measured by Fellows' presentations of their research in local and national settings, awards of competitive extramural fellowships, and eventual publications in high-impact journals. 4) To facilitate Fellows' ability t take a pro-active approach to career planning, by providing them with opportunities for career exploration and with tools and strategies to be competitive in the academic research job market. 5) To nurture a mindset that will encourage IMSD Fellows to serve as mentors, led by example, and support IMSD and similar programs throughout their academic careers by encouraging Fellows who have moved off IMSD funding to remain engaged with the Program through group activities, mentoring of junior fellows, and participation in campus outreach and diversity efforts With multi-faceted institutional support systems at UCSF, this proposed program will help to foster and sustain diversity in tomorrow's biomedical workforce.