South Texas Graduate Diversification Program

Project: Research project

Project Details


The overall goal of this proposal is to increase the number of underrepresented minority students (URMs) into doctoral programs relevant to mental health research in the USA. The majority of such students will likely enter the doctoral program in pharmacology at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSCSA) or neurobiology at the University of Texas San Antonio (UTSA). Data compiled by the National Research Council indicate that only 4.7% of new Ph.D.s in the biomedical sciences were awarded to members of URM groups (African Americans, Hispanics, Native American and Mainland Puerto Ricans), and that only 4.2% of biomedical research scientists in the workforce are URMs. Faculty contacts have been development at six primarily undergraduate universities in South Texas that have a total enrollment of 36,150 URMs, primarily Hispanic. Students selected jointly by these faculty as well as the Executive Committee of our program, termed the South Texas Graduate Diversification Program (STGDP), will enter its education program. The STGDP is meant to give undergraduate students a true taste of what being a graduate student in the biomedical sciences entails. They will have research responsibilities, attend seminars, actively participate in student journal clubs and take formal courses geared specifically towards undergraduate students. Social activities will also be planned for the undergraduates and will promote an environment in which the students will feel involved in the departments at UTHSCSA or UTSA. The research component will initially take place during a ten week period over the summer. This will occur in one of the laboratories of the 20 faculty (both from UTHSCSA and UTSA) in the program. During this time, the students will be required to take two courses. One deals with research methodologies of relevance to mental health. The other is a course specifically designed for the STGDP, "Biological Bases of Brain Function". They will also attend a weekly seminar series presenting topics such as Ethical Issues in Biomedical Research and Career Options in Biomedical Research. Promising students will be strongly encouraged to continue their affiliation with the STGDP, either during the academic year or for a second summer session. If this occurs during the academic year, the students will carry out research for at least 16-18 hours per week while taking courses either at their home universities or at UTSA. Any student carrying out research during a second summer session will also take a specially-developed course, "Neuropsychopharmacology". Funds are requested in the first year for 11 students (9 during the summer and 2 for a semester) and twice that number thereafter. The purpose of the STGDP is not only to give these students "research experience , but also, and more importantly, to allow them to gain confidence in their research abilities. The experience will show them what life is like as a graduate student and as an academic scientist. Talented URMs are available who are capable of having successful careers in mental health research. Our program is designed to recruit these students and demonstrate to them that the can be successful.
Effective start/end date5/1/029/30/08


  • National Institutes of Health: $111,717.00
  • National Institutes of Health: $114,393.00
  • National Institutes of Health: $112,297.00
  • National Institutes of Health: $69,964.00
  • National Institutes of Health: $110,607.00


  • Medicine(all)


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