Objective: The biomedical/behavioral sciences lag in the recruitment and advancement of students from historically underrepresented backgrounds. In 2014 the NIH created the Diversity Program Consortium (DPC), a prospective, multi-site study comprising 10 Building Infrastructure Leading to Diversity (BUILD) institutional grantees, the National Research Mentoring Network (NRMN) and a Coordination and Evaluation Center (CEC). This article describes baseline characteristics of four incoming, first-year student cohorts at the primary BUILD institutions who completed the Higher Education Research Institute, The Freshmen Survey between 2015-2019. These freshmen are the primary student cohorts for longitudinal analyses comparing outcomes of BUILD program participants and non-participants.
Design: Baseline description of first-year students entering college at BUILD institutions during 2015-2019.
Setting: Ten colleges/universities that each received <$7.5mil/yr in NIH Research Project Grants and have high proportions of low-income students.
Participants: First-year undergraduate students who participated in BUILD-sponsored activities and a sample of non-BUILD students at the same BUILD institutions. A total of 32,963 first-year students were enrolled in the project; 64% were female, 18% Hispanic/Latinx, 19% African American/Black, 2% American Indian/Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, 17% Asian, and 29% White. Twenty-seven percent were from families with an income <$30,000/yr and 25% were their family's first generation in college.
Planned outcomes: Primary student outcomes to be evaluated over time include undergraduate biomedical degree completion, entry into/completion of a graduate biomedical degree program, and evidence of excelling in biomedical research and scholarship.
Conclusions: The DPC national evaluation has identified a large, longitudinal cohort of students with many from groups historically underrepresented in the biomedical sciences that will inform institutional/national policy level initiatives to help diversify the biomedical workforce.
Keywords: Biomedical Research; Diversity; Underrepresented Students; Workforce Training.
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