BETHESDA, Md. (September 10, 2012)--The American Physiological Society (APS; www.The-APS.org) today announced that it will receive more than $2.3 million in federal grants to be used to recruit and mentor undergraduate students from traditionally underrepresented (UR) groups in an effort to increase their understanding of, interest in, and representation in the scientific and biomedical workforce. The effort is an essential step for filling the wide disparity that exists in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields for members of underrepresented racial or ethnic groups, persons from disadvantaged backgrounds, and persons with disabilities.
The APS, one of the nation's oldest and largest scientific societies, and a recipient of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM), has a long history of developing successful programs aimed at increasing the representation of underrepresented groups in science through its wide array of training, education and mentoring programs. The new grants add to the Society's efforts in the following ways:
- Short-Term Education Program for Underrepresented Persons (STEP-UP): The $928,000 award from National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), a division of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), offers students research opportunities related to NIDDK's core research priorities, which include understanding the causes and effects of nutrition, diabetes, renal disease and obesity. Annually, up to 25 students will be enrolled in the program that will include involvement in a summer research program and professional development activities, followed by an end-of-summer research symposium with students from the other national centers.
- Short-Term Research Education Program to Increase Diversity in Health-Related Research: The $853,200 grant from the NIH's National Heart Lung Blood Institute (NHLBI) also focuses on providing summer research experiences to students from underrepresented groups. It will engage students in research related to the NHLBI's core mission of cardiovascular, pulmonary, hematologic, and sleep disorders. The APS Short-Term Research Education Program to Increase Diversity or "STRIDE" program will provide support for 24 students each year and bring them to the following years' Experimental Biology meeting to present their research.
- Integrative and Organismal Systems (IOS) Biology Research Fellowship: The $535,000 award received from the National Science Foundation will support eight undergraduate students for a summer research experience by placing them in labs involved in IOS (or comparative physiology) research. The funds will also help the APS add resources to its National Science Digital Library and the Archive of Teaching Resources on working with students with disabilities and students from underrepresented groups in the research lab. APS will also coordinate two meetings to share and disseminate the APS' effective broadening participation practices with other scientific organizations.
All students will participate in activities that include online courses and interaction with individuals from other campuses across the U.S. Instruction on how to structure research studies and develop and present research materials will also be emphasized, along with career options. The APS, with a membership base in excess of 11,000, will also offer participants a professional network of mentors and advocates.
The APS STEP-UP program was implemented in 2012, and the STRIDE and IOS programs will be implemented in 2013 and run for a period of five years. Additional information about each of the programs is available online at www.the-aps.org/summerresearch.
The STEP-UP funding was made possible through NIDDK grant 1 R25 DK095492-01. The STRIDE grant was funded through NHLBI grant 1 R25 HL115473-01. The IOS Fellowship grant was the result of NSF grant APS IOSP: IOS 1238831.
NOTE TO EDITORS:
The American Physiological Society (APS) is a nonprofit organization devoted to fostering education, scientific research, and dissemination of information in the physiological sciences. The Society was founded in 1887 with 28 members and has grown to more than 11,000 today most of whom have received a doctoral degree in physiology and/or medicine.