Mentoring Strategies and Outcomes of Two Federally Funded Cancer Research Training Programs for Underrepresented Students in the Biomedical Sciences

J Cancer Educ. 2016 Jun;31(2):228-35. doi: 10.1007/s13187-015-0825-0.


The US is experiencing a severe shortage of underrepresented biomedical researchers. The purpose of this paper is to present two case examples of cancer research mentoring programs for underrepresented biomedical sciences students. The first case example is a National Institutes of Health/National Cancer Institute (NIH/NCI) P20 grant titled "South Carolina Cancer Disparities Research Center (SC CaDRe)" Training Program, contributing to an increase in the number of underrepresented students applying to graduate school by employing a triple-level mentoring strategy. Since 2011, three undergraduate and four graduate students have participated in the P20 SC CaDRe program. One graduate student published a peer-reviewed scientific paper. Two graduate students (50 %) have completed their master's degrees, and the other two graduate students will receive their degrees in spring 2015. Two undergraduate students (67 %) are enrolled in graduate or professional school (grad./prof. school), and the other graduate student is completing her final year of college. The second case example is a prostate cancer-focused Department of Defense grant titled "The SC Collaborative Undergraduate HBCU Student Summer Training Program," providing 24 students training since 2009. Additionally, 47 students made scientific presentations, and two students have published peer-reviewed scientific papers. All 24 students took a GRE test preparation course; 15 (63 %) have applied to graduate school, and 11 of them (73 %) are enrolled in grad./prof. school. Thirteen remaining students (54 %) are applying to grad./prof. school. Leveraged funding provided research-training opportunities to an additional 201 National Conference on Health Disparities Student Forum participants and to 937 Ernest E. Just Research Symposium participants at the Medical University of South Carolina.

Keywords: Biomedical sciences; Cancer research training programs; Diversity; Education; Mentoring programs; Outcomes; Triple-level mentoring strategy; Underrepresented minority students.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Biomedical Research / education*
  • Government Programs*
  • Humans
  • Mentoring / methods*
  • Minority Groups / education*
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care*
  • Prognosis
  • Program Development
  • Research Support as Topic*
  • South Carolina