Phase II: Morgan State University – ASCEND

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An innovative aspect of Phase I of the MSU ASCEND program was developing an entrepreneurial research training model for undergraduates pursuing biomedical science degrees. This model allowed for undergraduate students to lead their research, from developing the idea to writing the proposal and conducting the study. Central to many of the student-led activities was the Student Research Center, an organization led by undergraduate students. During Phase I, ASCEND also implemented faculty- and institutional-development interventions, such as offering pilot research grants, community-based participatory research mini-grants, and course redesign grants, to name a few. As a result of Phase I, the number of undergraduate students engaged in biomedical research at Morgan State University (MSU) has increased substantially; a student-centered research and teaching mindset is becoming the norm, and faculty have become substantially more well-versed with submission, acquiring, and management of grants.

During Phase II, the investigators plan to keep the same student-led research theme but focus on the most successful interventions, in particular enhancing the Student Research Center and its activities, such as the student-led health research concepts competition. Hiring additional biomedical research faculty and improving several research facilities will continue, and other interventions, such as grant-writing workshops, summer faculty “mini-sabbaticals” at Johns Hopkins University and University of Maryland Baltimore, will continue or be enhanced. There are concrete plans for sustainability by incorporating the interventions into university operations, seeking alternative sources of funding, and solidifying a culture of student-engaged courses and student-led research. Successful interventions will be disseminated via presentations and peer-reviewed publications.

The Diversity Program Consortium Coordination and Evaluation Center at UCLA is supported by Office of the Director of the National Institutes of Health / National Institutes of General Medical Sciences under award number U54GM119024.
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