The Translational Research Institute (TRI) is dedicated to attracting ethnically and culturally diverse students to careers in the biomedical sciences. In partnership with the Center for Diversity Affairs, the TRI has two grants to enhance outreach to underrepresented minorities and disadvantaged students.
In 2009, Billy Thomas, M.D., M.P.H., associate dean for the Center for Diversity Affairs, and Robert McGehee, Ph.D., TRI program director and UAMS Graduate School dean, were awarded a five-year, $442,000 grant from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences to establish the Initiative for Maximizing Student Development (IMSD) program. The goal of the IMSD is to increase the number of underrepresented minority (URM) students and students from disadvantaged backgrounds graduating with doctorates in biomedical sciences. Ultimately, this change will help increase the numbers of URM faculty, investigators and students in the biomedical sciences and broaden the opportunities for their participation in biomedical and behavioral research, thereby better serving Arkansas.
In 2011, Drs. Thomas and McGehee received a five-year, $250,000 grant from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute to create the UAMS Summer Undergraduate Research Program to Increase Diversity in Research. The program focuses on underrepresented minorities and disadvantaged students who are entering their sophomore year in college. The goal is to increase the diversity of students pursuing research careers in the fields of cardiology, pulmonology and hematology. The program welcomed its first group of undergraduates the summer of 2012.