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Enhancing successful post-baccalaureate intervention to promote research careers.



: The proposed research tests factors hypothesized to increase the likelihood that an underrepresented minority (URM) college graduate, who is attracted to biomedical PhD training, will "go the distance" and develop an independent research career. The underlying hypotheses emerged from preliminary outcomes data from the Mount Sinai Post-Baccalaureate Research Education Program (PREP). Specific Aim #1 hypothesis: individual qualities that are crucial to success in a research career are fostered by participation in high school and/or college activities such as orchestra or dance troupe or varsity athletics; our data derive from athletics. In the proposed work a larger "athlete" cohort will be recruited to an expanded PREP. We will track entry data of the athlete and student-at-large PREP cohorts into PhD and MD/PhD programs. For all PREP scholars from each cohort who enter doctoral programs, we will monitor attrition- completion data as well as: (i) a series of performance measures; (ii) retention of a research career as a goal. High performance and continued motivation are expected to correlate with future establishment of an independent research career. We further hypothesize that participation in long-term research projects of an intense, well-mentored nature build similar qualities to athletics whereas multiple, less intense and rigorous experiences do not; relevant data will be collected from all study participants. Specific Aim #2 hypothesis: a major reason for the disappointing numbers of URM students who develop into independent researchers, even after special college programs, is that gaps or impediments remain. If not adequately addressed before PhD training, as done by Mount Sinai PREP, these gaps and impediments preclude the high level of performance in PhD work that supports subsequent pursuit of the path from PhD to an independent research career. Aggregate retention-to-date of PREP scholars in the PhD programs entered is 92% while that of URM cohorts who entered Mount Sinai's PhD program during the same period is 54%. PREP-type interventions will be deployed in our PhD program to assess whether that gap narrows. The research addresses the paucity of URM students who complete biomedical PhD training and go on to establish independent research careers. The studies test hypothesized factors as predictors/builders of successful PhD work and test the adaptability of successful PREP interventions to a doctoral program setting.

Other Details

  • Affiliation: Mt Sinai School of Medicine
  • Email: terry.krulwich@mssm.edu
  • Funding Mechanism: RFA-GM-07-005
  • Keyword: Achievement
  • Primary Investigator: Krulwich Terry