Loma Linda, CA. – Sept. 30, 2014 – Minority high school and college students who take part in a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Pipeline Program at Loma Linda University Health report gains in research self-efficacy and an increased intent to take up science careers, according to a new study. The study was published on the September issue of the journal PLOS ONE (DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0108497). The study is also available on with this link.
Authors on the study are Lorena Salto, M.P.H., research assistant, Center for Health Disparities and Molecular Medicine, Loma Linda University, School of Medicine; Matt Riggs, Ph.D., professor, Department of Psychology, California State University, San Bernardino; Daisy D. Deleon, professor, Center for Health Disparities and Molecular Medicine, School of Medicine; Carlos A. Casiano, professor, Center for Health Disparities and Molecular Medicine, School of Medicine; and Marino De Leon, Ph.D., professor and director, Center for Health Disparities and Molecular Medicine, School of Medicine.
Students who took part in the program express an increased willingness to incorporate research into their future careers and report more confidence in their research skills and in their ability to do science, the study said.
“We’re very excited about the findings of the study because it shows that there are concrete steps we can take to support the aspirations of minority students to succeed in these fields where they are not well represented,” said Marino De Leon, Ph.D., senior author on the study. The study highlights that exposing students to well structured summer research experiences as early as in high school can be highly effective to increase their research self-efficacy which strengthened their intent to pursue a career in science,” added Dr. De Leon.
The study, conducted by researchers from the Loma Linda University Center for Health Disparities and Molecular Medicine and published in the scientific journal PLOS ONE, suggests that early participation in such a program could help boost the ranks of underrepresented minority students in STEM fields. The study specifically reports data collected since 1997 from the high school Apprenticeship Bridge To College (ABC) and the college Undergraduate Training Programs (UTP). The study uses evidenced based intervention and reports that 67 percent of high school student participants in the ABC program, and 90 percent of those participating in the UTP are graduating with a college degree in a STEM discipline. Further 55 percent of ABC and 78 percent of UTP students are matriculating in graduate school. “These outcomes are impressive and further assessments are necessary to fully understand these data,” added Dr. Daisy De Leon.
Research internships in the Loma Linda University Summer Health Disparities Research Program are offered to promising students attending high school in the San Bernardino and Riverside counties of Southern California as well as college students attending universities nationwide in order to encourage the participants to consider careers in STEM disciplines. “The program pairs students with scientists to participate in a hands-on research project and daily career development activities. This part of the program clearly has an important effect on the students,” noted Dr. Carlos A. Casiano.
According to the study, as of 2010, African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, and Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders together made up 31.1 percent of the total U.S. population, but earned only 13.1 percent of all STEM research doctorates that year.
The study was supported in part by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) (grant number 5P20006988). The Loma Linda University Center for Health Disparities and Molecular Medicine has been designated a Center of Excellence in Minority Health and Health Disparities by the NIH.
About Loma Linda University Health (LLUH)
Loma Linda University Health includes Loma Linda University’s eight professional schools, the Loma Linda University Medical Center’s six hospitals and more than 900 faculty physicians located in the Inland Empire of Southern California. Established in 1905, LLUH is a global leader in education, research and clinical care. It offers over 100 academic programs and provides quality health care to 40,000 inpatients and 1.5 million outpatients each year. A Seventh-day Adventist organization, LLUH is a faith-based health system with a mission “to continue the teaching and healing ministry of Jesus Christ.” Additional information about Loma Linda University Health is available online at www.lluhealth.org.