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Assessment of NIH Minority Research and Training Programs: Phase 3 1 Introduction Over the last decade, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) funded on average about 15,000 trainees per year at various stages in their careers. In 2002, the number of trainees exceeded 16,000, reflecting a spending level of approximately $650 million. NIH initiated minority-targeted research training programs in 1972, when it created the Minority Biomedical Research Support (MBRS) program7 to provide support for biomedical research at minority institutions. In 1975, NIH established the Minority Access to Research Careers (MARC) program to enable faculty at minority institutions to develop undergraduate curricula in the biomedical sciences and to provide opportunities to attract undergraduates to biomedical research. In 1977, MARC established the Honors Undergraduate Research Training program and, over time, it added programs to fund predoctoral, postdoctoral, and junior faculty trainees. During subsequent decades, the expansion of programs designed to enhance the number of minority biomedical and behavioral scientists showed modest but continuous increases in both the number of institutes and centers (ICs) offering them and the types of research and training covered. Today, NIH supports training opportunities for underrepresented minorities beginning at the secondary school level and continuing through postgraduate training and research. The MBRS and MARC programs reside within the Minority Opportunity in Research (MORE) Division of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS). NIGMS provides a focus for minority research training; however, most of the ICs have one or more minority-targeted research training programs. A census of extramural NIH minority research training programs conducted by the committee in 2001 revealed that the ICs offered 79 different minority-targeted training programs in support of the NIH goal of increasing the number of minority biomedical and behavioral scientists. This study examines the use of 13 of those programs at the undergraduate, graduate, postdoctoral, and junior faculty levels. 8 Originally named the Minority Schools Biomedical Support (MSBS) program.
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Assessment of NIH Minority Research and Training Programs: Phase 3 Origins of the Study As part of the Minority Health Initiative launched by NIH in 1992, a trans-NIH study—the Assessment of NIH Minority Research Training Programs—was initiated by the Office of Research on Minority Health (ORMH) in the Office of the Director at NIH. The goal of this study was to answer a fundamental question: Do the NIH minority research and research training programs work? Specifically, have they been successful in helping minority students and faculty members move a step forward toward productive careers as research scientists? In addition to answering the basic outcome question, the core of the assessment was to identify which features of minority programs are most effective in helping students and faculty advance to the next step in their careers. The study was implemented in three phases. ORMH conducted phases 1 and 2. The National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NCMHD), the successor to ORMH,8 then asked the National Academies to conduct phase 3, as an independent study that would draw on the findings of ORMH’s earlier work. Phase 1 focused on presenting an overview of NIH extramural research training programs and summarized available information and trend data for each of the major NIH minority research training programs.9 In 1993, ORMH completed phase 1 and documented an overall pattern of minority underrepresentation in the biological, behavioral, and clinical sciences (hereafter referred to as “biomedical” sciences). Despite moderate improvements in recent years in the number and proportion of Ph.D. degrees earned by underrepresented minorities, there has not been a marked increase in the number of minorities who have been successful in securing mainstream NIH research grants not specifically targeted for minorities. In 1997, ORMH reported on phase 2 of the study, which assessed the feasibility of a trans-NIH assessment of minority research training programs (phase 3) and determined the appropriate scope of that endeavor. Research questions and potential data sources useful to phase 3 of the study were identified.10 In 2001, NCMHD contracted with the National Academies to undertake the phase 3 assessment. NCMHD chose the National Academies based on its independence, its ability to collect and integrate quantitative and qualitative data from NIH ICs, and its ability to convene national experts who could analyze and assess these data in an 8 In 2000, ORMH became the NCMHD. Congress specified in Public Law 106-525 that the purpose of NCMHD is “… the conduct and support of research, training, dissemination of information, and other programs with respect to minority health conditions and other populations with health disparities.” Furthermore, Congress empowered NCMHD to “… make awards of grants or contracts to designated biomedical and behavioral research institutions, … for the purpose of assisting the institutions in supporting programs of excellence in biomedical and behavioral research training for individuals who are members of minority health disparity populations or other health disparity populations.” 9 Office of Research on Minority Health, National Institutes of Health. 1993. Assessment of NIH Minority Research/Training Programs: Phase 1. Bethesda, Md.: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 10 Office of Research on Minority Health, National Institutes of Health. 1997. Assessment of NIH Minority Research/Training Programs: Phase 2, Bethesda. Md.: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
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Assessment of NIH Minority Research and Training Programs: Phase 3 objective manner. To that end, National Research Council Chairman, Dr. Bruce Alberts, appointed a study committee to address the specific charge outlined below. Study Charge The goals of the study are (1) to assess and analyze NIH minority trainee educational and career outcomes to the extent feasible with the existing data and information at NIH, supplemented by interviews of minority trainees, and (2) to recommend improvements to the NIH coordinated tracking and information system of minority research training programs and their participants. In order to assess and analyze NIH minority trainee educational and career outcomes, the study committee was charged with addressing the following questions to the extent that they may be addressed using available data from NIH supplemented by interviews with minority trainees and program administrators: Do the NIH minority research training programs work? Which minority programs and which features of minority programs have been most successful in helping individual students and faculty members move a step forward toward productive careers as research scientists? What additional factors contribute to minority trainee success, including characteristics of individual participants and the academic institutions at which they received NIH research training support and/or obtained their terminal degree? Which minority programs have been least successful and why? How can a system be set up that would better address assessment questions in the future? In addition, the study committee was charged with developing policy recommendations for an improved coordinated tracking information system that would do the following: Provide NIH administrators a means for obtaining improved annual feedback on minority research training programs; Assist the development of future goals; Assist the development of performance measures; and Assist the improvement of program effectiveness.
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Assessment of NIH Minority Research and Training Programs: Phase 3 Minority Underrepresentation The Problem of Underrepresentation A diverse research workforce in the biomedical sciences broadens scientific inquiry and knowledge, has enhanced potential to solve population-specific health problems, and more fully exploits a valuable human resource. Although the biomedical sciences are flourishing in the United States, these fields have faced critical workforce supply problems over the last decade.11 In particular, there is severe underrepresentation of Native-American, African-American, and Hispanic individuals. In 1997, underrepresented minorities comprised only 4.2 percent of the doctoral-level biomedical workforce.12 Access to higher education creates opportunities for individuals to enjoy professional careers and upward mobility. Historically, individuals from underrepresented groups have not had the same kind of access to educational opportunities and higher-paying professional positions that individuals from nonminority groups have, although the efforts on the part of higher education institutions to promote diversity in their student populations over the last four decades have made a significant difference. Bowen and Bok (1998)13 and Prewitt (2002)14 have shown that in response to the civil rights movement, key Supreme Court cases, and the Civil Rights Act of 1964, colleges and universities began to actively recruit minority students—Native American, Hispanic, and African American—in the 1960s and became more aggressive in subsequent decades. Indeed, higher education embraced diversity as a mission, recognizing, as Prewitt argues that “it had a special obligation. It had to amend for its own complicity with past racist practices. It was also strategically placed and thus had unique responsibilities…. It had always been the route to leadership in law, politics, medicine, and commerce. If it had unfairly kept parts of the population from these roles, it could now accelerate their mobility.”15 Bowen and Bok (1998) report that these efforts have paid off, particularly in the professions. These trends have led to striking gains in the representation of minorities in the most lucrative and influential occupations. By 1996, African Americans made up 8.6 11 National Research Council. 2000. Addressing the Nation’s Changing Needs for Biomedical and Behavioral Scientists. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press 12 National Science Foundation, Division of Science Resources Statistics. 2002. Doctoral Scientists and Engineers: 1999 Profile. Arlington, Va.: National Science Foundation. 13 Bowen, W. G., and D. C. Bok. 1998. The Shape of the River: Long-Term Consequences of Considering Race in College and University Admissions. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press. 14 Prewitt, K. 2002. Higher education and the diversity agenda. Speech given at the Annual Meeting of the Council of Graduate Schools in San Diego, Calif., in December 2002. 15 Ibid., p. 4.
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Assessment of NIH Minority Research and Training Programs: Phase 3 percent of all male professionals and 13.1 percent of all female professionals (up from 3.8 and 6 percent, respectively, in 1960). They also accounted for 8.3 percent of all male executives, managers, and administrators and 9.6 percent of all females in such positions (up from 3 and 1.8 percent, respectively). From 1960 to 1990, African Americans almost doubled their percentage of the nation’s physicians and almost tripled their share of attorneys and engineers.16 These gains are indeed impressive, but African Americans remain underrepresented in most of these professional occupations, as do Hispanics and Native Americans relative to their prevalence within society, as a whole. In fields of science, particularly at the graduate level, the underrepresentation of minorities remains even more severe. In 2001, minorities for all three underrepresented groups earned just 5.7 percent of all doctorates in science and engineering, even though together they comprise more than 25 percent of the total U.S. population. (African Americans earned just 2.8 percent of doctorates in science and engineering, Hispanics earned 2.7 percent, and Native Americans earned 0.3 percent.) Underrepresented minorities earned 9.2 percent of doctorates in the social and behavioral sciences, but only 5.6 percent of all doctorates in the biological sciences.17 Table 1-1 lists the number of doctorates in biological sciences awarded between 1994 and 2003. In contrast to the gains made by underrepresented minorities in the professions, the percentage of underrepresented minorities earning doctorates in the biological sciences improved approximately 2 percentage points over a 10-year period.18 For behavioral scientists, the situation is only slightly better. Table 1-2 shows that between 1994 and 2003 the number of psychology doctorates awarded to underrepresented minorities (as defined by this study) increased by approximately 4 percent.19 Clearly, opportunities for underrepresented minorities to participate in the biomedical sciences at the doctoral level are as yet unrealized. The numbers are so low, even after decades of effort to increase minority participation in higher education generally, that one must conclude that barriers to participation persist, to the detriment of individuals who might seek these careers as well as to the detriment of science and of society. It is to these latter two that we now turn. 16 Bowen, W. G., and D. C. Bok. 1998. The Shape of the River: Long-Term Consequences of Considering Race in College and University Admissions. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, p. 10. 17 NSF/NIH/NEH/USDA/NASA, 2001 Survey of Earned Doctorates. 18 Data from Table 1-1 were recalculated and the Asian/Pacific Islanders category was removed from the definition of minority because Asians are not underrepresented in science. The percentage of underrepresented minorities receiving doctorates in the biological sciences are recalculated as follows: 1994:5.5; 1995:5.8; 1996:5.7; 1997:6.2; 1998:6.8; 1999:7.5; 2000:7.2; 2001:7.5; 2002:7.7; 2003:7.3. 19 Data from Table 1-2 were recalculated and the category of Asian/Pacific Islanders was removed for purposes of comparison with recalculated data from Table 1-1. The percentage of underrepresented minorities receiving doctorates in psychology are recalculated as follows: 1994:8.6; 1995:9.7; 1996:10.6; 1997:10.9; 1998:12.1; 1999:12.8; 2000:13.1; 2001:12.1; 2002:13.3; 2003:12.6.
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Assessment of NIH Minority Research and Training Programs: Phase 3 TABLE 1-1 Doctorates in Biological Sciences Awarded to U.S. Citizens or Permanent Residents by Race or Ethnicity and Major Field of Study: 1994-2003 Year 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 American Indian or Alaskan Native 16 15 20 7 12 20 17 15 12 11 Asian or Pacific Islander 719 920 885 721 657 608 539 558 581 542 Black 78 107 98 112 111 116 118 139 124 108 Hispanic 131 127 131 146 168 175 173 165 182 175 Total minority biological sciences doctorates 944 1169 1134 986 948 919 847 877 899 836 Minority doctorates as a percentage of total 24.05 28.04 27.36 25.80 24.65 24.15 22.49 23.29 24.18 24.56 White 3,105 3,115 3,170 3,158 3,246 3,128 3,308 3,255 3,117 3,053 Total 4,088 4,329 4,364 4,256 4,308 4,124 4,268 4,243 4,111 4,047 SOURCE: NSF/NIH/NEH/USDA/NASA, 2003 Survey of Earned Doctorates. TABLE 1-2 Doctorates in Psychology Awarded to U.S. Citizens or Permanent Residents by Race or Ethnicity and Major Field of Study: 1994-2003 Year 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 American Indian or Alaskan Native 12 14 17 18 31 35 22 17 15 22 Asian or Pacific Islander 108 121 121 126 113 132 145 122 128 125 Black 124 149 152 152 158 172 189 174 171 168 Hispanic 133 146 173 171 208 215 211 175 185 169 Total minority psychology doctorates 377 430 463 467 510 554 567 488 499 484 Minority doctorates as a percentage of total 12.02 13.51 14.32 14.94 15.58 16.83 17.55 16.09 17.86 17.01 White 2,729 2,722 2,744 2,523 2,645 2,701 2,607 2,454 2,228 2,254 Total 3,136 3,184 3,233 3,125 3,274 3,292 3,231 3,033 2,794 2,846 SOURCE: SOURCE: NSF/NIH/NEH/USDA/NASA, 2003 Survey of Earned Doctorates.
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Assessment of NIH Minority Research and Training Programs: Phase 3 Ensuring a High-Quality Scientific Workforce Increasing the participation of underrepresented minorities is critical to ensuring a high-quality supply of scientists and engineers in the United States over the long term. This is so for at least three reasons: First, if some groups are underrepresented in science, we are very likely not attracting as many of the most talented individuals to what is a key activity in our knowledge economy. If nothing is done, this problem will become even more severe as minority groups increase as a percentage of the U.S. population. Second, minority scientists’ general knowledge and understanding of their communities can facilitate the resolution of population-specific health problems. Third, the resolution of health problems associated with minority populations, such as obesity, heart disease, and diabetes, will help solve similar problems prevalent in nonminority communities. The diversity of societal scientific problems is best addressed by a diverse science workforce with vested interests in these issues. The participation of minorities broadens and deepens science as individuals with diverse backgrounds address familiar and new problems, formulate novel questions, and employ alternative strategies for solutions. Scientists tend to work on areas that are of most interest to them. Although not uniformly a desire, many minority scientists focus their efforts on issues of critical importance to minority communities, frequently as a result of their own backgrounds. This is seen especially in clinical and public health research areas, such as health disparities and medical care, and in targeted efforts at specific diseases. It is perhaps no accident that the recent upsurge in the biomedical sciences focused around women’s health issues has occurred concomitantly with an increase in the number of women scientists and physicians in this country. Female biomedical researchers are likely to promote research in these areas and to have personal insights into the causes of these problems and about barriers to their prevention or eradication. The scientific challenges that we face (e.g., making sense out of the human genome) are enormous and difficult. In order to overcome these challenges, NIH must attract and develop creative, innovative, and knowledgeable practitioners of science across a wide range of biomedical disciplines. To the extent that much of the as-yet-untapped talent resides with minority individuals, high-quality research training opportunities must continue to be made available. Even this is not enough. A welcoming and tolerant scientific workplace environment is also essential in cultivating biomedical workforce diversity. This is well recognized in other aspects of our society. For example, many corporations have discovered the value of diversity not only in sales and marketing functions, where a wide base for customer appeal is important but also in other operations where the best talent is needed. Minority trainees need role models as much as they need efforts to develop them as new entrants. They also need to see organizational goals that are shared by their communities (e.g., the reduction of health problems that affect minority individuals). Conversely, organizations need such individuals not only for their talent, but also to best educate them and aid them in making these environments truly
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Assessment of NIH Minority Research and Training Programs: Phase 3 nurturing. They also need such individuals in key leadership positions (e.g., professors, department chairs, heads of key committees, and national advisers) in order to better serve the function of role model and promote policies that effect truly best practices for all segments of society. Thus, it can be argued that a research institution that is not diverse is likely not bringing the best talent to the table. In addition to issues of talent, there are issues of supply.20 For one thing, demographic trends suggest an important emphasis on recruiting underrepresented minorities to science and engineering simply because those groups are increasing as a proportion of the U.S. population and are expected to reach 49.9 percent in the near future.21 As the National Science and Technology Council (2000) related: Demographic trends inspire concern about the nation’s ability to meet its future ST&E [scientific, technical, and engineering] workforce needs. Historically, non-Hispanic white males have made up a large fraction of U.S. scientists and engineers. However, in the 21st century this portion of the U.S. population is projected to decrease significantly. Other populations groups, such as Hispanics and African Americans, form a much smaller part of the ST&E workforce, but their populations are expected to increase markedly in the next 50 years. This implies that the ST&E fraction of the total workforce may decline if the relative participation rates of these different groups remain at the present values.22 If anything, this message is even more important today. Recent data on graduate enrollments in science and engineering have shown a long-term decline in the number of white males enrolling in NIH research training programs over the last decade. Moreover, the number of international trainees participating in U.S. science and engineering graduate and postdoctoral training programs is also in danger of sharp decline, given recent world events. Minority 20 Some reports have argued additionally and strongly that we either already have, or will soon be facing, a shortage of scientists and engineers in the United States, particularly a shortage of domestic scientists and engineers. These reports include the following: National Science Board. 2003. The Science and Engineering Workforce: Realizing America’s Potential. Arlington, Va.: National Science Foundation; Congressional Commission on the Advancement of Women and Minorities in Science, Engineering and Technology Development. 2000. Land of Plenty: Diversity as America’s Competitive Edge in Science, Engineering and Technology. Arlington, Va.: National Science Foundation; and Jackson, S. A. 2004. The perfect storm: A weather forecast. Speech given at American Association for the Advancement of Science Annual Meeting in Seattle, Wash. They argue that we need to address this crisis by recruiting more U.S. citizens to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields, and as part of this effort increase the participation of minorities. There are dissenters from the view that we have or will soon have such a general shortage: see Mervis, J. 2003. Down for the count. Science 300(5622):1070; Fechter, A., and M. S. Teitelbaum. 1997. A fresh approach to immigration. Issues in Science and Technology. 13 (3):28-32; National Research Council. 2000. Addressing the Nation’s Changing Needs for Biomedical and Behavioral Scientists. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press; for examples of analysts who do not believe there is, at least now, a shortage. 21 U.S. Census Bureau, Projected Population of the U.S. by Race and Hispanic Origin: 2000 to 2050, http://www.census.gov/ipc/www/usinterimproj/natprojtab01a.pdf. 22 National Science and Technology Council. 2000. Ensuring a Strong U.S. Scientific, Technical, and Engineering Workforce in the 21st Century, Washington, D.C.: Executive Office of the President of the United States, p. 4.
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Assessment of NIH Minority Research and Training Programs: Phase 3 groups, therefore, are largely untapped populations that can help to remedy a significant and growing problem. Regardless of the debate about the accuracy of future labor market projections, Fechter and Teitelbaum (1997) explain: Some policy issues may be independent of the current or projected state of the labor market. A notable example is underrepresented groups—women and members of underrepresented racial/ethnic groups—underrepresentation in part reflect barriers that prevent qualified individuals from these groups from pursuing scientific careers. Therefore, underrepresentation is an indicator of talent that is not exploited to its fullest potential. Such underutilization, which can exist simultaneously with situations of abundance, represents a cost to society as well as to the individuals in these groups. And policy formulation aimed at reducing this underrepresentation should not be totally based on market conditions.23 Addressing Underrepresentation What are the roots of this problem with recruiting, retaining, and promoting minorities in science? There are no single answer and no single remedy. The preparation of students during their pre-K-12 years for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) higher education and careers is certainly an important foundation that determines whether students will be able to meet the challenges of courses and careers in these areas. Many have argued that much work must be done to improve K-12 science and mathematics education in general, and for underrepresented groups in particular. Remedies at this level include improving teacher quality, introducing pedagogical methods that include inquiry-based learning, and implementing improved curricula that map to national science and mathematics education standards.24 Postsecondary education has many principles that provide guidance to institutions in their efforts to help minority students succeed regardless of field. Building Engineering and Science Talent (BEST)25 recently outlined eight key design principles to expand minority participation in higher education: Institutional leadership: commitment to inclusiveness across the campus community; Targeted recruitment: investing in and executing a K-12 feeder system; Engaged faculty: developing student talent as a valued activity among faculty; 23 Fechter, A., and M. S. Teitelbaum. Spring 1997. A fresh approach to immigration. Issues in Science and Technology 13(3):28-32. 24 National Research Council. 1999. Selecting Instructional Materials: A Guide for K-12 Science. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press. 25 Building Engineering and Science Talent (BEST). 2004. A Bridge for All: Higher Education Design Principles to Broaden Participation in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. San Diego, Calif.: BEST. See http://www.bestworkforce.com.
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Assessment of NIH Minority Research and Training Programs: Phase 3 Personal attention: addressing, through mentoring and tutoring, the learning needs of each student; Peer support: student interaction opportunities that build support across cohorts and allegiance to institution, discipline, and profession; Enriched research experience: beyond-the-classroom, hands-on opportunities and summer internships; Bridging to the next level: institutional relationships that help students and faculty to envision pathways to milestones and career development; and Continuous evaluation: ongoing monitoring of process and outcomes that guide program adjustments to heighten impact. BEST goes on to note that even with all of these design principles in place, the key role of socioeconomic status in determining success in higher education will require comprehensive financial assistance for low-income students. For many of the children and young adults in underrepresented groups, the long years of schooling are daunting and the costs of this education (both direct costs and forgone income from delaying entry into the workforce) seem prohibitive. These, coupled with a lack of encouragement and expectation by their peers and some counselors that they can become successful, are just some of the barriers faced by minority and low-income students. The availability of role models and mentors is of paramount importance. The ability to see and interact with individuals much like themselves who have “made it” thus becomes key for nurturing future generations of scientists. The lack of minority faculty and senior scientists translates to a lack of critical role models for minority trainees at these institutions. From an educational and professional development standpoint, inclusive promotion of science professions in our society will require that all segments of this society see role models for themselves—successful professionals who come from their backgrounds. This is particularly important for those groups that are underrepresented in the sciences. The probable effects of improving professional development of underrepresented minority and disadvantaged individuals are not widely appreciated. Although minorities and disadvantaged individuals still experience racism and stereotypical prejudices in our society, many of the hurdles of professional development are also faced by nonminority individuals. For example, even though a higher percentage of minority trainees may cite a lack of a good mentor as a significant barrier, on a numerical basis more nonminority trainees are likely to experience the same shortfall since they outnumber the minority individuals in science severalfold. In general, many of the training and professional development barriers are accentuated among minority individuals, in part because they often come to the table feeling isolated, having fewer professional contacts, possibly fewer financial resources (e.g., for books and supplemental materials). This may be compounded if they are also surrounded by the doubts of others about their abilities, especially if any affirmative action has been in evidence. The latter remark is based on
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Assessment of NIH Minority Research and Training Programs: Phase 3 numerous open-ended comments received from minority trainees in the course of administering the trainee survey. Assessing Program Outcomes The study committee was charged with answering the general question, Do the NIH minority training and research programs work? To address this question, the committee undertook a thorough analysis of historic NIH program announcements for minority research training programs, in order to identify the stated goals of the programs. This analysis established that the goal of NIH minority research training programs is, and always has been, to increase the number of Ph.D.-level minority biomedical researchers. In no instance, however, was success in reaching this goal quantified among the program announcements. As a second step, the committee also considered the work of earlier phases of this study to determine additional benchmarks for program success. Phases 1 and 2 of the study recommend that evaluation of minority research training programs employ, as a metric for assessing program success, whether or not trainees had advanced to the “next step” in the science educational and career trajectory.26 The committee determined to apply each of these—increasing the number of minority Ph.D.-level biomedical researchers and advancing trainees to the next step—as metrics for assessing program success. Yet all but one member of the committee also believed that regardless of whether each trainee advances to the next step in his or her education, or becomes a Ph.D.-level researcher, the programs provide important and valuable training experiences for all participants that should be considered in assessing whether a program works. Given disparities in the educational opportunities available to trainees prior to enrollment in any of the NIH programs, it would be inappropriate to expect or demand that minority trainees, as a whole, have the same average rates of professional attainment and success as nonminority trainees. Indeed, the training programs exist because of the need to overcome this gap. An additional and appropriate standard for the evaluation of minority programs, therefore, is the “value added” that the program provides to all of its participants. This introduces its own set of measurement problems as outlined below, but it is a critical foundation of the committee’s analysis and recommendations. Thus, the following principles bear upon any discussion of minority research training program success: More than one generation is needed to establish a research training pipeline that is both attractive to minorities and successful at producing large numbers of Ph.D.-level scientists. Building capacity and sustaining minority interest in science require the visible promotion of role models. Young people who see that others like them have 26 Office of Research on Minority Health, National Institutes of Health. 1993. Assessment of NIH Minority Research/Training Programs: Phase 1. Bethesda, Md.: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Office of Research on Minority Health, National Institutes of Health. 1997. Assessment of NIH Minority Research/Training Programs: Phase 2. Bethesda, Md.: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
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Assessment of NIH Minority Research and Training Programs: Phase 3 made it are more likely to believe that they can make it too. Role models in science may include teachers, professors, doctors, entrepreneurs, and others. Every role model in science counts toward building each group’s capacity for sustaining science and ultimately producing biomedical research Ph.D.s. The research training pipeline is understandably leaky (see Figure 1-1). Some trainees will exit the pipeline, never to return, after completing a bachelor’s degree in science, for example. Some of these may take a job in the biotech industry. Others may go on to practice medicine or become science writers. The committee believes these are all successful outcomes for underrepresented groups that do not yet have a strong and visible presence in biomedical science. The research pipeline is not always a straight line. Some will exit the pipeline but return some years later. Time taken to raise a family, care for a family member who is ill, gain valuable experience, or rescue personal and family finances is a manifestation of cultural values. This should be respected. Leakiness in the research training pipeline diminishes with each career stage progression. Trainees further commit as they progress through their training. Therefore, programs designed for those who are in early career stages should endorse a broad definition of success. Programs for trainees at later career stages may adopt more highly prescribed definitions of success. Program Success Viewed from Three Perspectives In summary, the committee decided to consider program outcomes in a broader context and the success of minority training programs from three complementary perspectives: (1) increasing the number of Ph.D.-level minority research scientists; (2) advancing minority trainees to the next step in their education; and (3) the value-added of scientific enrichment, in general. Figure 1 shows that there are a number of different outcomes for NIH training programs, depending on the specific segment of the training pipeline in question. For example, a bachelor’s-level program is expected to result in more minority individuals who pursue graduate and/or professional education and/or enter technical research careers. A program for graduate trainees should result in an increase in the number of successful scientists, teachers, research administrators, and those individuals interested in science policy. In addition to examining minority research training programs relative to these outcome metrics, the committee also identifies features of minority programs that have or have not been successful in helping individual students and faculty move a step forward toward productive careers as research scientists. It explores a variety of factors that contribute to minority trainee success, including the characteristics of individual participants and the academic institutions at which they received their NIH support.
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Assessment of NIH Minority Research and Training Programs: Phase 3 Figure 1-1 The NIH training pipeline. Organization of the Report This report contains seven chapters. This Introduction, is followed by Chapter 2, a discussion of methods. Chapters 3, 4, and 5 focus on, analyze, and assess research training programs geared toward each of the four research training career stages—undergraduate, graduate, postdoctoral, and junior faculty. Chapter 6 describes the perspectives of numerous NIH research training program administrators who were interviewed as part of the committee’s data-collection process. Chapter 7 synthesizes findings across the four career stage levels and concludes with specific policy recommendations for NIH. These recommendations suggest ways to enhance NIH’s minority research training programs and provide guidance to NIH for future data collection efforts designed to enhance the ability of evaluators to assess the success of these programs at regular intervals.
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Representative terms from entire chapter: