support needed to address the challenges that minority undergraduates face and prepare them for graduate work in these fields. These programs provide financial support, classes that include exposure to the foundation of knowledge in their field, hands-on research experience, and mentoring. By selecting bright students who have shown an aptitude and interest in scientific fields and by providing them these kinds of support, NIH intends to increase the pool of minority undergraduates that could continue on to graduate school.

Undergraduate Programs for Underrepresented Minorities

The NIH supports undergraduate education in the biomedical and mental health-related behavioral sciences for underrepresented minorities most directly through a number of programs offered by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) and the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). The study committee decided to focus on three of these programs. The first is the R25 Bridges to the Baccalaureate program; it focuses on the preparation of students in the biomedical or behavioral sciences at two-year institutions, such as community or tribal colleges, in order to prepare them for transfer to a four-year institution. The other two programs, T34 U*STAR and T34 COR, focus on students in their third and fourth years of undergraduate study. All three programs provide only institutional awards and the institutions eligible for these awards are historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), Hispanic-serving institutions (HSIs), or tribal colleges or universities. (The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences offers some short-term training for minority undergraduates using the T35 mechanism, but this program is discussed in chapters 4 and 5 since the majority of T35 participants are graduate trainees, medical students, and postdoctoral scholars).

(R25) Bridges to the Baccalaureate

The NIGMS designed the R25 Bridges to the Baccalaureate program, established in 1992, “to make available to the biomedical research enterprise and the nation the intellectual talents of an increasing number of underrepresented minorities.”29 It does so through undergraduate and graduate components that provide support to institutions to help students make transitions at critical stages in their development as scientists. At the undergraduate level, the R25 Bridges to the Baccalaureate program focuses on building partnerships between community or tribal colleges and four-year baccalaureate institutions, with the goal of providing a nearly seamless transition for underrepresented minority students at community or tribal colleges who are interested in careers in biomedical research. It does so by improving the skills and opportunities of these students through coursework and hands-on research experience. The program also guides


National Institutes of General Medical Sciences, National Institutes of Health. 1992. Initiative for Minority Students: Bridges to the Baccalaureate (Program announcement, PAR-02-084). See

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