The APA/NIGMS Project: Overview and Objectives
Visions and Transformations: The Final Report, of the American Psychological Association (APA) Commission on Ethnic Minority Recruitment, Retention, and Training in Psychology (CEMRRAT), found representation of persons of color markedly decreases at each succeeding level of psychology's educational pipeline (high school through postdoctoral studies). In response to this concern, the APA Office of Ethnic Minority Affairs (OEMA) submitted a grant application to the National Institute for General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) in January 1996 entitled "Developing Minority Biomedical Research Talent in Psychology: A Collaborative and Systemic Approach for Strengthening Institutional Capacity for Recruitment, Retention, Training, and Research." In September 1996, OEMA won a 3-year grant totaling $750,000 from NIGMS to demonstrate the effectiveness of a "systemic approach" for increasing the number of persons of color in the educational pipeline for biomedical research careers in psychology. The grant would especially target the following areas: AIDS, stress, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, substance abuse, neuroscience, gerontology, pain and its management, developmental disorders, and other areas at the intersection of health and behavior that have a disproportionately negative impact on the health and lifespan of persons of color. The project's major objectives are to:
Establish five multi-institutional Regional Centers of Excellence in recruitment, retention, and training students of color interested in biomedical research in psychology, with each center consisting of a major research university and two predominately minority institutions include a community college;
Implement at each regional center a specific methodology for strengthening linkages between the center's major research institution and its minority-serving institutions related to minority recruitment, retention, and training;
Provide technical assistance (diversity consultation and scientific advisement) to the regional centers and facilitate implementation and evaluation of the centers' demonstration programs and strategies for strengthening the capacities of their psychology faculty and departments to effectively recruit, retain, and train students of color for biomedical research careers in psychology;
Increase the number of students of color interested in pursuing biomedical research careers in psychology at the project's participating institutions and improve these students' rates of retention;
Facilitate the recruitment, retention, and training of the nation's future minority biomedical researchers by disseminating the project's findings, procedures, and demonstration models to all of the nation's academic departments of psychology and to other appropriate scientific/professional associations and societies; and
Document and evaluate the impact of the proposed systemic approach.