MCC and RIT Use $624,386 National Institutes of Health Grant to Increase Minorities Entering Biomedical Careers




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A grant from the National Institutes of Health will be used by Monroe Community College and Rochester Institute of Technology to attract and prepare minority students for careers in biomedical research. The grant will fund the Rochester Biomedical Experience, an innovative and comprehensive program of weekend workshops, summer research experiences, and jointly offered courses conducted by MCC and RIT faculty that will ease the transition of minority students from associate degree science programs to baccalaureate degree programs.

“Contact with people who are engaged in research really helps students to mature and develop a serious purpose,” said Frank Rinehart, Ph.D., dean of MCC's Division of Science, Health and Business. “By easing the barriers, we will help more students successfully transition and pursue advanced degrees in biomedical research.”

The three-year, $624,386 grant is expected to impact minority enrollment in MCC's liberal arts-science, biotechnology and computer science programs; and RIT's biochemistry, biotechnology and bioinformatics programs. The goal of the Rochester Biomedical Experience is to enroll 12 students per year.

“RIT is very excited to partner with MCC on a project whose purpose is to encourage underrepresented minority students to pursue careers in biomedical science,” said Douglas Merrill, Ph.D., associate dean of RIT's College of Science and co-investigator on the grant. “The health issues facing minority communities are profound, and we believe that true progress in achieving equality in health care will be achieved only when talented underrepresented minority students are fully represented in the next generation of physicians and research scientists. This program promises to open doors to those careers that might otherwise remain closed to many of those students.”

The first Rochester Biomedical Experience is slated for June - August 2005. Outreach to local high schools will begin in November 2004.

Persons interested in the program are encouraged to contact L. Paul Wakem, Ph.D., MCC's associate professor of biology and principal investigator for the NSF grant, at 585-292-2738 or pwakem@monroecc.edu for more information.

Over 60 percent of all part-time students living in Monroe County attend MCC, making MCC the college of choice in Monroe County for part-time students.