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Suggested Citation:"Minority Participation in the Biomedical Sciences." Institute of Medicine. 1985. Minority Access to Research Careers: An Evaluation of the Honors Undergraduate Research Training Program. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18471.
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Suggested Citation:"Minority Participation in the Biomedical Sciences." Institute of Medicine. 1985. Minority Access to Research Careers: An Evaluation of the Honors Undergraduate Research Training Program. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18471.
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Page 9
Suggested Citation:"Minority Participation in the Biomedical Sciences." Institute of Medicine. 1985. Minority Access to Research Careers: An Evaluation of the Honors Undergraduate Research Training Program. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18471.
×
Page 10
Suggested Citation:"Minority Participation in the Biomedical Sciences." Institute of Medicine. 1985. Minority Access to Research Careers: An Evaluation of the Honors Undergraduate Research Training Program. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18471.
×
Page 11
Suggested Citation:"Minority Participation in the Biomedical Sciences." Institute of Medicine. 1985. Minority Access to Research Careers: An Evaluation of the Honors Undergraduate Research Training Program. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18471.
×
Page 12
Suggested Citation:"Minority Participation in the Biomedical Sciences." Institute of Medicine. 1985. Minority Access to Research Careers: An Evaluation of the Honors Undergraduate Research Training Program. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18471.
×
Page 13
Suggested Citation:"Minority Participation in the Biomedical Sciences." Institute of Medicine. 1985. Minority Access to Research Careers: An Evaluation of the Honors Undergraduate Research Training Program. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18471.
×
Page 14

Below is the uncorrected machine-read text of this chapter, intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text of each book. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

3. MINORITY PARTICIPATION IN THE BIOMEDICAL SCIENCES In recent years there has been some increase in the percentage of minority students earning degrees in the biological sciences. However, these small improvements in recent years have not dramatically altered the pattern of minority underrepresentation in scientific employment and training. The Minority Access to Research Careers (MARC) Program was established in response to the underrepresentation of minority group members in the biomedical sciences. Over the past several years, there have been only modest changes in the percentage of scientists in the doctoral labor force from minority groups. The percentage of blacks among doctoral scientists increased slightly from l973 to l979 and again from l979 to l98l (Table 3.l). The size and the timing of the increase varied across academic disciplines. In very few cases was the shift steady and uninterrupted. Almost all fields increased their proportion of black doctoral scientists in the 1973 to l979 period. In the life sciences, the percentage of blacks rose from l.l in l973 to l.3 in l979 (an annual rate of growth of 2.8 percent). Only two fields—the social sciences and psychology—showed improvement for the l979 to l98l period. The racial composition of the pool of employed scientists cannot change very rapidly since it is a cumulative distribution—each annual distribution is composed largely of members of the previous distribu- tions. If changes are taking place, statistics on the education and training of new scientists would be most likely to show them. Science Education The underrepresentation of minorities in science is smallest at the earliest stages of training (Berryman, l983). Using data from the l970s, Astin (l982) found that black representation among biological science majors declined from college entry (6.9 percent) to baccalaureate completion (4.3 percent) to master's completion (3.4 percent) to doctorate completion (l.5 percent). Similar patterns were found for Puerto Ricans and Chicanos. The white percentage, however, rose at each step. Whites were 89.3 percent of the freshman biology majors, 90.4 percent of the biology baccalaureate recipients, and 93.3 percent of the biology doctorate recipients. 8

TABLE 3.l Black Scientists with Research Doctorates as a Percentage of the Total Population of Scientists with Research Doctorates, l973-8l Year Field l973 l979 l98l Total Science l.0% l.2% l.4% Physics 0.9% 0.8% 0.9% Mathematics 0.8% l.2% l.2% Computer Science a a a Environmental Science a 0.7% a Life Science l.l% l.3% l.3% Psychology l.l% l.5% 2.0% Social Science l.3% 2.l% 2.5% aToo few cases; estimates not provided by NSF. SOURCE: Computed from data presented in the National Science Founda- tion, Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering, l984, pp. 64-65. Bachelor's Degrees In l976, blacks received 6.2 percent of all bachelor's degrees, but only 4.2 percent of all bachelor's degrees in biology (Table 3.2). Hispanics earned 2.8 percent of all bachelor's degrees in l976 and 2.7 percent of all biology bachelor's degrees. In subsequent years, both groups increased their shares of bachelor's degrees and biology degrees. For both groups, the share of biology bachelor's degrees rose more than the share of total bachelor's degrees. In l98l, blacks earned 6.4 percent of all bachelor's degrees and 5.2 percent of the biology bachelor's degrees. Hispanics received 3.5 percent of all bachelor's degrees and 4.4 percent of the biology bachelor's degrees.

10 TABLE 3.2 Percentage Distribution of Bachelor's Degrees by Race and Hispanic Ethnicity BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES Year Race/Ethnic l976 l977 l979 l98l Black 4.2 4.5 5.0 5.2 Hispanica 2.7 2.9 3.7 4.4 White 89.0 88.0 86.2 84.7 Other Total 4.l 4.6 5.0 5.8 (Number of degrees) l00.0 l00.0 99.9 l00.l (53,925) (54,l70) (49,56l) (44,046) ALL FIELDS Year Race/Ethnic l976 l977 l979 l98l Black 6.2 6.3 6.5 6.4 Hispanica 2.8 2.9 3.2 3.5 White 86.3 87.0 86.2 85.3 Other Total 3.l 3.6 4.0 4.8 (Number of degrees) 98.4 99.8 99.9 l00.0 (934,443) (920,228) (93l,340) (946,877) aA person of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Central or South American or other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race. This category includes only U.S. citizens or permanent residents. SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, HEGIS Survey of Degrees and Other Formal Awards Conferred, l976-8l.

11 Graduate Education At the graduate level the racial and ethnic disparities increase. The percentage of full-time biology graduate students who are minorities are presented in Table 3.3. Blacks comprised between 2.4 and 3.l percent of the full-time biological science graduate students. Their representation among biology graduate students was measurably less than their representation among biology bachelor's degree earners. For blacks, the percentages for biology graduate enrollments in Table 3.3 fall below those for biology bachelor's degrees in Table 3.2. A similar pattern was found for Hispanics. Their percentage of the biology graduate student population ranged between 1.2 percent and l.7 percent (Table 3.3). This relative stability in their representation among biology graduate students occurred at the same time that their representation among biology bachelor's degree earners was rising from 2.7 percent to 4.4 percent (Table 3.2). Members of "other" minority groups were similarly underrepresented. They earned between 4.l and 5.8 percent of the biology bachelor's degrees but accounted for less than 4 percent of the full-time biology graduate students. Only among the white nonHispanic group did the share of full-time biological sciences graduate students exceed the share of biological sciences baccalaureates. Doctoral Degrees The percentage of doctoral degree recipients who are black is smaller than the percentage of graduate students who are black (Table 3.4). In the late l970s, blacks comprised between 2.4 and 3.l percent of the full-time graduate student population in biological sciences but received less than 2.4 percent of the doctoral degrees awarded through I960.l Conclusion: The Role of the MARC Honors Program Minority group members are underrepresented at all stages of the scientific career: undergraduate degrees, graduate enrollment, doctoral degrees, and employment in the doctorate labor force. The disparity widens appreciably after the receipt of a bachelor's degree when rates of full-time graduate study are examined. Three factors could be responsible for the increasing racial disparity as students move from undergraduate to graduate education: differences in the structure of opportunities; differences in student aspirations; and differences in student preparation. Minority and nonminority students may confront different opportunity structures as they apply to graduate schools. Institutional reputations and informal networks ^Changing definitions of Hispanic ethnicity in the source survey prevent the comparison of Hispanic statistics over time.

12 TABLE 3.3 Percentage Distribution of Full-Time Graduate Students by Race and Hispanic Ethnicitya BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES Year Race/Ethnic Fall 1976 Fall l978 Fall l980 Fall l982b Black 2.4 2.3 3.l 2.8 Hispanic0 l.2 l.4 l.6 l.7 White 93.3 92.9 9l.3 9l.6 Other Total 3.0 3.4 3.9 3.8 99.9 l00.0 99.9 99.9 (Number of students) (24,8l0) (24,208) (22,656) (20,956) ALL FIELDS Year Race/Ethnic Fall l976 Fall l978 Fall l980 Fall l982 Black 5.8 5.6 5.8 5.0 Hispanic0 2.5 2.6 3.0 3.0 White 89.2 88.8 87.8 88.3 Other Total 2.6 2.9 3.4 3.6 l00.l 99.9 l00.0 99.9 (Number of students) (383,644) (373,285) (382,258) (356,092) aExcludes nonresident aliens. 5l982 data include agricultural sciences. CA person of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Central or South American or other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race. This category includes only U.S. citizens or permanent residents. SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, Fall Enrollment in Colleges and Universities (l976, l978, l980). l982 data are from unpublished tabulations supplied by the Office for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education.

13 TABLE 3.4 Percentage of Biomedical Science Research Doctorates Earned by Blacks, by Year of Doctorate Year of Ph.D. Biomedical Sci.a All Fields Total Black Total Black 1973 N 3,520 64 l.8 33,755 748 2.2 % l974 N % 3,4l7 69 33,047 1,0l0 3.l 2.0 l975 N % 3,5l5 66 l.9 32,95l 1,2l9 3.7 l976 N 3,578 74 2.l 32,946' l,3l6 4.0 % l977 N % 3,465 62 3l,7l8 l,468 4.6 l.8 1978 N % 3,5l6 79 2.2 30,873 l,39l 4.5 l979 N % 3,644 72 2.0 31,235 l,45l 4.6 l980 N 3,822 83 2.2 3l,0l3 l,447 4.7 % l981 N % 3,843 99 2.6 3l,342 l,49l 4.8 l982 N X 3,95l 94 2.4 3l,048 l,525 4.9 aThe biomedical science category includes the following fields: Anatomy, Embryology, Human and Animal Physiology, Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Biomathematics, Biometrics and Biostatistics, Biomedical Engineering, Biophysics, Environmental Sciences, Environmental Health, General Biological Sciences, Human and Animal Genetics, Immunology, Parasitology, Microbiology, Bacteriology, Neurosciences, Human and Animal Pathology, Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Human and Animal Pharmacology, Pharmacy, Public Health, Epidemiology, Hospital Administration, Veterinary Medicine, Zoology, Cell Biology/Cytology, Nutritional Sciences/Dietetics, Food Science and Technology, Endocrinology, Toxicology, Other Biological Sciences, Medicine and Surgery, Dentistry, Optometry, Ophthalmology, General Health/Medical Sciences, Other Health/Medical Sciences. SOURCE: National Research Council, Survey of Earned Doctorates, l973-82.

14 among faculty members may inflate the opportunities for students in major research institutions and deflate those for students in more isolated schools (e.g., those serving minority students). In addition to differences in opportunity, the lack of encouragement, the shortage of role models, and the absence of information about science careers may dampen minority student aspirations for graduate study. Finally, differences in preparation might also affect the rate of matriculation in graduate programs. Minority students, concentrated in financially disadvantaged institutions, may not receive the same amount of laboratory exposure, research experience, and faculty supervision that students in more affluent schools receive. These differences in curricula could affect test score performance or could influence the decision of people evaluating admissions and fellowship applications. These three factors (opportunity, aspiration, and preparation) are explicit foci of the MARC program. MARC predoctoral fellowships (though not a subject of this analysis) provide expanded opportunity for graduate study by increasing the funding options open to minority students. The MARC Honors Undergraduate Research Training Program seeks to increase the rate of graduate study by improving institutional networks, raising aspirations, and improving the preparation of undergraduate students. The MARC program promotes these objectives by supporting special curricula, student research exposure, visiting scholars, guest lecturers, and attendance at professional meetings. In the following chapters, the operation and the outcome of these program activities are examined.

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