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Assessment of NIH Minority Research and Training Programs: Phase 3
centers, and its ability to convene national experts who could analyze and assess these data in an objective manner.
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 could be addressed using available data from NIH:
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?
Which minority programs have been least successful and why?
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?
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.
Assessing Program Outcomes
To answer the question, “Do the NIH minority research training programs work?” the committee developed three metrics for assessing program success which it applied in the course of its work. First, the committee undertook a thorough analysis of historic NIH program announcements for these programs in order to identify their stated goals. This analysis established that the foremost goal of NIH minority research training programs is, and always has been, to increase the number of Ph.D.-level minority biomedical researchers. However, success in reaching this goal was not quantified among any of the program announcements. Second, the committee considered the work of phases 1 and 2 of this study which recommended examining whether or not trainees had advanced to the “next step” in the science educational and/or career trajectory. Third, the committee also considered the value that participation in the program provides