August 13, 2013

Dr. Jim Hagberg, professor in the Department of Kinesiology, has developed a special educational program to train and support underrepresented students interested in research related to health and aging.

The Aging, Diversity And Professional Training (ADAPT) program was designed to provide under-represented and disadvantaged undergraduate students with research, ethics and career development training. The program is funded by a $229,527 grant from the National Institutes of Health - National Institute on Aging.

Dr. Hagberg has taken the lead on several initiatives to help prepare minority students for scientific careers. He is currently the principal investigator on an NIH Predoctoral Training Grant that provides stipends and tuition to Ph.D. students in the area of exercise physiology and aging. He is also director of the UMD School of Public Health Summer Training and Research (STAR) program, which trains underrepresented students pursuing graduate degrees relevant to preventing and treating cardiovascular disease.

Students participating in the ADAPT program will work closely with UMD School of Public Health faculty members and Ph.D. student mentors and will receive both academic credit and research experience designed to make them more competitive graduate school applicants. Mentor expertise will range from laboratory-based bench research to applied community-based and community participatory research.

Dr. Hagberg plans to recruit six college sophomores for the program next summer. Program participants must have GPAs of at least 3.0 and may include 1st generation college students, Hispanic, Native American and African American students, Hagberg said. Students will be enrolled in the program for two consecutive years, including two academic years and two concentrated summer experiences with distinct activities each year.

"We need to emphasize building the pipeline for minority students to succeed in the STEM [science, technology, engineering and mathematics] disciplines, which is a big priority of the campus," Hagberg said. "We have a diverse campus but there is still a relative lack of diverse faculty role models. These students could end up being role models to the next generation."

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James M. Hagberg