$4.6 Million Renewal from NIH to Penn Program that Aims to Diversify Biomedical Education

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Media Contact:Karen Kreeger | Karen.kreeger@uphs.upenn.edu | 215-459-0544August 13, 2012

Yvonne Paterson, PhD, professor of Microbiology, at the Perelman School of Medicine, and professor and associate dean, at the School of Nursing, has been awarded an almost $5 million renewal by the National Institute for General Medical Sciences for the University of Pennsylvania Postdoctoral Opportunities in Research and Training, or PENN-PORT, the postdoctoral-training program she leads.

This program funds 15 postdoctoral fellows who teach in local colleges and universities that have a significant minority enrollment. The PENN-PORT program combines a traditional, three-year postdoctoral research training with a two-year mentored teaching experience at one of three partner minority-serving institutions: Lincoln University, Rutgers University-Camden, and Delaware County Community College.

The goals of the postdoctoral program are to enhance research-oriented teaching at the partner institutions; to promote research collaborations between faculty members at the three partner institutions and Penn; and to encourage minority students to enter graduate school and increase minority participation in biomedical research.

"The program has been in existence for five years, and in addition to having a significant impact at the three partner institutions, it has also helped mend the diversity pipeline between getting a doctorate and becoming an academic faculty member,” says Paterson. “Of the 30 or so fellows who have benefited from the program, about 75 percent of them are from underrepresented groups or have serious physical challenges. The majority of the fellows who have completed the program have gone on to faculty positions in a variety of small colleges and universities."

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