The Minority Biomedical Research Support (MBRS) Program has been actively involved in student biomedical research development since 1987, and has continued these efforts under the Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement (RISE) Student Training Program. The Morehouse School of Medicine MBRS RISE Program is innovatively designed to promote graduate student development with the goal of increasing the number of students from underrepresented groups who complete Ph.D. degree programs in biomedical sciences. Pre-doctoral level graduate students involved in biomedical research are currently supported. The Program may expand in the future to engage masters level graduate students with the goal of providing a gateway to motivate these students toward pursuing the Ph.D. degree.
The RISE Program is an institutional grant with well integrated developmental activities including: research experiences; specialty courses with a focus on critical thinking and development of research skills; collaborative learning experiences; research careers seminars; scientific reading comprehension and writing skills; and travel for scientific meetings. All students involved in the RISE program are required to conduct mentor directed research projects that will ultimately be used as their Ph.D. dissertation. Additionally, they must attend research seminars at Morehouse School of Medicine, participate in journal clubs and present their research findings at the Morehouse School of Medicine Annual Student Research Symposium and/or at a local or national scientific research meeting, such as the Society for Neuroscience, American Association for Cancer Research, or the American Heart Association National Meetings.
In the period 2011-2012, RISE graduate students contributed to 13 peer-reviewed publications (four as first author) and one book chapter. In addition, RISE graduate students presented their research at 12 national meetings and 11 local meetings; two received awards for their national meeting presentations. Over the last funding cycle, seven RISE students received the Ph.D. degree, representing an 88% graduation rate. Hence the RISE Program is close to achieving the goal of reaching a 90% graduation rate.