MINORITY UNDERGRADUATE BIOMEDICAL EDUCATION PROGRAM

Release Date:  January 5, 2001

RFA:  RFA-HL-01-008 (See update, NOT-HL-05-109)

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
 (http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov)
Office of Research on Minority Health
 (http://ncmhd.nih.gov)

Letter of Intent:          February 21, 2001
Application Receipt Date:  March 30, 2001

PURPOSE

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) invites applications for
the Minority Undergraduate Biomedical Education Program.  The purpose of this
program is to develop pilot demonstration programs at minority undergraduate
educational institutions that will encourage the recruitment and retention of
talented undergraduate students in the biomedical sciences.  The program is
designed to increase the number of minority students who enter and succeed in
undergraduate and, ultimately, graduate and professional programs in the
biomedical and behavioral sciences.

HEALTHY PEOPLE 2010

The Public Health Service (PHS) is committed to achieving the health promotion
and disease prevention objectives of "Healthy People 2010," a PHS-led national
activity for setting priority areas. This RFA, Minority Undergraduate
Biomedical Education Program, is related to one or more of the priority areas. 
Potential applicants may obtain a copy of "Healthy People 2010" at 
http://www.health.gov/healthypeople/.

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

Applications may be submitted by domestic  for-profit and non-profit minority
undergraduate educational institutions that currently offer baccalaureate
degrees. Minority institutions are defined as academic institutions in which
1) students from minority groups, underrepresented in the biomedical and
behavioral sciences (e.g., African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native
Americans, Alaskan Natives, Native Hawaiians, and Native U.S. Pacific
Islanders), comprise a significant proportion (greater than 50 percent) of the
total student enrollment and 2) have a track record of commitment to the
special encouragement of minority faculty and students. Foreign institutions
are not eligible for these grants. 

The Program Director of a Minority Undergraduate Biomedical Education Program
award must be engaged in undergraduate educational activities, preferably in
the life sciences, with the experience to administer and integrate the
components of the program.  The Program Director will assume responsibility
for the overall direction of the program and is expected to devote a minimum
of 25 percent effort to the program. Racial/ethnic minority individuals,
women, and persons with disabilities are encouraged to apply as Program
Director.

MECHANISM OF SUPPORT

The administrative and funding instrument to be used for this program will be
the education  (R25) grant.  Responsibility for the planning, direction, and
execution of the proposed program will be solely that of the applicant.  The
total requested project period for applications submitted in response to this
RFA may not exceed five years.  Facilities and administrative (F&A) costs will
be paid at a rate of 8%.   A budget for each year must be provided.

FUNDS AVAILABLE

The NHLBI intends to commit approximately $800,000 total costs in FY 2001 to
fund up to 
2 new pilot programs in response to this RFA.  An applicant may request a
project period of 5 or fewer years and a budget of up to $400,000 total costs
for the first and second year and up to $ 500,000 total costs per year for all
subsequent years, excluding Facilities and Administrative costs (F&A) on
consortium arrangements.   Although the financial plans of the NHLBI provide
support for this program, awards pursuant to this RFA are contingent upon the
availability of funds and the receipt of a sufficient number of meritorious
applications.
     
Allowable costs for a pilot demonstration program may include, but are not
limited to:
     
o  Costs for managing the pilot program including salary of key personnel and
supplies and materials to support an administrative structure

o  Ancillary support for pre and post undergraduate student preparation,
including retreats, seminars, exchange programs, the development of
partnership and collaborative activities, and other activities deemed to
enhance the goals of the program

o  Faculty development costs including support for summer research projects,
release time, retreats, and exchange programs

o  Student remuneration including the provision of tuition and salary/wages
and /or
other forms of compensation.

o  Student travel for presentation at scientific meetings. 

Funds may NOT be used to purchase equipment and supplies unless included as
part of a faculty research project to be used for student research
experiences. (In this case, the maximum allowable costs for equipment items
cannot exceed $10,000 for research purposes without prior approval by the
NHLBI.)   Undergraduate recruitment expenses of any kind, other than expenses
classified as preparatory educational activities are not allowable under this
program. Support for incentives, memberships, and Internet subscriptions are
not allowable.  

RESEARCH OBJECTIVES

Background

Despite remarkable progress in health care over the last few decades,
minorities still bear a disproportionate share of premature disability.  Given
the disproportionate burden of disease among racial/ethnic minorities and the
unique sociocultural issues involved in disease pathogenesis and management
among minorities, it is critical that more minority individuals be brought
into the biomedical research workforce. 

It is not clear why minority individuals continue to be underrepresented in
biomedical research.  At the undergraduate level, an increase in college
enrollment by underrepresented minorities has persisted for over a decade. 
Black college enrollment increased at a rate of 3.6 percent per year in the
1990s and Hispanic enrollment grew at an even higher rate (7.1 percent
annually.)  Moreover, in 1996, approximately 17 percent of minority freshmen
reported plans to major in biological sciences, up from 10 percent in 1976 and
1986.  Despite these intentions, the number of baccalaureate degrees in the
biological sciences awarded to underrepresented minority individuals has not
appreciably increased in the last decade.  While 10 percent of Black freshman
college students express an intent to study a field of natural science, only 5
percent actually earn bachelor's degrees in natural science.  Of the college
students who receive a degree in the natural sciences, only about 11 percent
are underrepresented minority students. Thus, a number of underrepresented
minority individuals are lost to biomedical science during their undergraduate
college education. 

One means of countering this trend is to improve the ability of educational
institutions that educate a disproportionate share of minority undergraduates
to attract, train and graduate promising underrepresented minority students in
the biomedical sciences, including the behavioral, physical and quantitative
sciences.  Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) continue to
play an important role in educating and producing minority bachelor's degree
recipients in the sciences.  Thirty-one percent of African-Americans awarded
baccalaureate degrees in science and engineering in 1996 earned their degrees
at HBCUs.  Approximately two-thirds of the 25 institutions that awarded the
largest number of science and engineering bachelor's degrees to African-
American males and females were HBCUs.  Hispanics are also likely to earn
bachelor's degrees from colleges and universities in regions of the country
where they are most concentrated, such as California, Texas, and Puerto Rico. 
Puerto Rico awarded 21 percent of the science and engineering bachelor's
degrees received by Hispanics in 1990 and 15 percent in 1996.  Thus, there is
an impetus to focus on those institutions with the most experience and success
in educating minority undergraduate students in the sciences.

Other 

The pilot programs will be awarded to minority undergraduate educational
institutions, where special circumstances exist for achieving the objectives
of the initiative. The long-term goal is to develop educational programs that
could serve as models and be disseminated on a national basis to increase the
number of minority undergraduate students graduating with baccalaureate
degrees in the life sciences.

Applicants for the Minority Undergraduate Biomedical Education Program should
develop pilot programs for recruiting and retaining minority undergraduate
students in the biomedical sciences based on local conditions and resources
available.  Proposed pilot programs may be based at a single minority academic
institution or incorporate cooperative and integrated efforts among
institutions, as a result of geographic proximity or a demonstrated history of
cooperation.  

Typical implementation strategies for pilot demonstration projects may include
development of presentations, course and curricular reform and enhancement,
college preparation activities, supervised research and other active learning
experiences, faculty professional development, and other strategies that
address the needs of the institution(s) and students.  While the primary focus
of the Minority Undergraduate Biomedical Education Program is at the
undergraduate level, projects may include activities that affect student
advancement through the critical transition points during college education -
the transition between high school and college, 2- and 4-year colleges, and
undergraduate and graduate school. 

Examples of activities that might comprise a pilot demonstration program
include plans to: 

o  implement college activities for high school and 2-year college students
that acquaint them with and prepare them for baccalaureate programs in the
life sciences;

o  strengthen and restructure the life science curricula, courses, and
laboratories through the incorporation of advances in scientific knowledge,
research-based teaching, and learning techniques and practices; 

o  integrate student research and other active learning processes into the
curriculum; 

o  implement strategies to ensure that students are aware of, and well
prepared for, graduate school matriculation, including an understanding of
non-academic factors that are critical to success in graduate school;
  
o  offer sabbaticals and exchange programs for faculty to enhance research
competencies and knowledge of recent technological developments; 

o  provide faculty release time to participate in appropriate course and
curricular reform activities, and develop mentoring skills; 

o allow opportunities for faculty to participate in research and direct
student research projects during the academic year or the summer;

o  develop appropriate partnerships with other academic institutions,
industrial laboratories, national laboratories, and Federally-supported
research centers to ensure quality student research experiences that
complement academic studies (research experiences may be on campus with local
investigators or at off-campus sites); 

o  provide meaningful internships or cooperative education opportunities
related to students' skill development at appropriate off-campus sites;

o  support special seminars to enhance disciplinary knowledge. 

o  provide activities to improve technical skills of students such as writing.

Applicants are encouraged to propose other topics that address the overall
goals of this initiative. The development and structure of the final pilot
demonstration program is up to the applicants.    

SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS
  
Project Evaluation and Assessment
An evaluation and assessment plan is required so that project development and
implementation can be monitored at all stages. One of the key objectives of
the Minority Undergraduate Biomedical Education Program is to develop
educational programs that lead to the recruitment and retention of
undergraduate students in the life sciences and to increase the number of
minority students receiving baccalaureate degrees in the life sciences. 
Accordingly, both intermediate and long-term evaluation and assessment plans
should be proposed that include indicators of progress of the pilot program
towards achieving these goals. Intermediate goals should compare data or
indicators prior to and after establishment of the program and include, but
not be limited to: (1) the number of minority students pursuing majors in the
life sciences; (2) the number of minority life science majors involved in
faculty-supervised research and other active learning activities; (3) student
retention in life sciences disciplines; and (4) new educational or ancillary
activities established as a result of the program.   Long-term measures should
include: (1) the number of minority life science graduates with Grade Point
Averages of 3.0 or higher; (2) number of minority life science graduates
entering graduate or professional school; and,  (3) number of minority
graduates that enter the biomedical workforce.  Where appropriate, an
evaluation plan may include comparison groups. 

URLS IN NIH GRANT APPLICATIONS OR APPENDICES

All applications and proposals for NIH funding must be self-contained within
specified page limitations.  Unless otherwise specified in an NIH
solicitation, internet addresses (URLs) should not be used to provide
information necessary to the review because reviewers are under no obligation
to view the Internet sites.  Reviewers are cautioned that their anonymity may
be compromised when they directly access an Internet site. 

LETTER OF INTENT
  
Prospective applicants are asked to submit a letter of intent that includes a
descriptive title of the proposed program, the name, address, and telephone
number of the Program Director, the identities of other key personnel and
participating institutions, and the number and title of the RFA in response to
which the application may be submitted.  Although a letter of intent is not
required, is not binding, and does not enter into the review of a subsequent
application, the information that it contains allows NHLBI staff to estimate
the potential review workload and plan the review.

The letter of intent is to be sent to Dr. Deborah Beebe, at the address listed
under INQUIRIES by February 21, 2001.

APPLICATION PROCEDURES

The research grant application form PHS 398 (rev. 4/98) is to be used in
applying for these grants.  These forms are available at most institutional
offices of sponsored research and from the Division of Extramural Outreach and
Information Resources, National Institutes of Health, 6701 Rockledge Drive,
MSC 7910, Bethesda, MD 20892-7910, telephone 301/435-0714, email:
GrantsInfo@nih.gov.

The RFA label available in the PHS 398 (rev. 4/98) application form must be
affixed to the bottom of the face page of the application.  Type the RFA
number on the label.  Failure to use this label could result in delayed
processing of the application such that it may not reach the review committee
in time for review.  In addition, the RFA title and number must be typed on
line 2 of the face page of the application form and the YES box must be
marked.

The sample RFA label available at:
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/phs398/label-bk.pdf has been modified to
allow for this change.  Please note this is in pdf format.

Submit a signed, typewritten original of the application, including the
Checklist, and three signed, photocopies, in one package to:

CENTER FOR SCIENTIFIC REVIEW
NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH
6701 ROCKLEDGE DRIVE, ROOM 1040, MSC 7710
BETHESDA, MD  20892-7710
BETHESDA, MD  20817 (for express/courier service)

At the time of submission, two additional copies of the application must be
sent to Dr. Deborah Beebe at the address listed under INQUIRIES.

Applications must be received by the application receipt date listed in the
heading of this RFA.  If an application is received after that date, it will
be returned to the applicant without review.

The Center for Scientific Review (CSR) will not accept any application in
response to this RFA that is essentially the same as one currently pending
initial review, unless the applicant withdraws the pending application.  The
CSR will not accept any application that is essentially the same as one
already reviewed. This does not preclude the submission of substantial
revisions of applications already reviewed, but such applications must include
an introduction addressing the previous critique.

APPLICATION CONTENT

The Minority Undergraduate Biomedical Education Program is designed to
encourage the development of innovative pilot programs that might be
implemented on a national level to increase the number of minority students
entering the biomedical sciences.  The application should propose an
integrated program whose component parts work together to support the overall
goals and objectives of the proposed program.  The application layout and
organization should reflect the overall goal of the program, but be presented
as an integrated set of activities based on local conditions and resources. 
In general, the overall goals and specific measurable objectives (including
anticipated milestones) should reflect what the institution expects to
accomplish as a result of implementing the activities described in the
application. 

The Proposed Program

Applicants should describe their proposed program in detail.  They should
explain how the program will meet their institutional goals and specific
measurable objectives and how meeting these institutional goals will fulfill
the objectives of this initiative.  

Applicants should describe the institution's experience in training minority
undergraduate  students in the life sciences. In this section, applicants
should include information on the number of minority students enrolled and
receiving baccalaureate degrees, both total and in the life sciences, and data
on the subsequent careers or education plans of the institution's minority
graduates.

The application should typically include:

o  Overall project goals, objectives, and a timeline for proposed activities
with an indication of their anticipated impact;  

o  Rationale for and feasibility of the approach chosen;

o  Expected impact of the project across the life science offerings of the
institution; 

o  Overall evaluation plan with process and outcome evaluation components to
guide project development and demonstrate project impact, including the
methods, expertise available, and the criteria to be used for program
evaluation.  In this context, the institutional data for the previous four
years of minority undergraduate student education in the life sciences may
serve as a baseline for the specific measurable objectives;

o  Information on student pool available to the program, and a plan for
attracting and retaining the desired student pool;

o  The criteria to be used in the selection of, and steps taken to recruit and
retain, the student participants in this program;

o  Credentials of participating teaching and research faculty;

o  Evidence of the commitment of the proposing institution to the improvement
of undergraduate education in the life sciences including plans and resource
alignment strategies to continue elements of the project after funding ends.

Key Personnel

The Program Director is responsible for the overall execution of the program. 
Unless otherwise stated in the application, the Program Director will have the
overall responsibility for all projects/activities (e.g., mentoring
activities, organization of communications skills programs, special methods
workshops etc.) and as well as student career tracking plans.  The names and
qualifications of the Program Director, the directors of individual projects
within the program (where appropriate), and any other key personnel, should be
listed in the application under Key Personnel and their Biographical Sketches
should be included.

Other Support and Resources

Applicants should describe the other type(s) of support available for the
scientific development of minority undergraduate students at their
institution(s).  Applications from academic institutions with Federal or
private funding for student development programs in the life sciences should
define the relationship between those programs and the Minority Undergraduate
Biomedical Education Program.

REVIEW CONSIDERATIONS

Upon receipt, applications will be reviewed for completeness by the CSR and
responsiveness by the NHLBI.  Incomplete and/or non-responsive applications
will be returned to the applicant without further consideration.

Applications that are complete and responsive to the RFA will be evaluated for
scientific and technical merit by an appropriate peer review group convened by
the NHLBI in accordance with the review criteria stated below.  As part of the
initial merit review, all applications will receive a written critique and
undergo a process in which only those applications deemed to have the highest
scientific merit, generally the top half of the applications under review,
will be discussed, assigned a priority score, and receive a second level
review by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Advisory Council.

Review Criteria

The anticipated effectiveness of the program in making a difference relative
to the current educational activities will be assessed; some of the factors
considered include:

o Overall Goals and Specific Objectives
-Suitability of overall goal(s) and specific objectives in relation to the
applicant institution's academic strengths;
-The rationale for the educational/research activities to increase students'
interest in biomedical scientific careers;
-The extent to which the program's plan may be expected to meet the stated
goals and  objectives and its suitability to be implemented at other
institutions;

o Evaluation Plan
-The appropriateness of the applicant's plan for the evaluation of the impact
of the programmatic activities, including appropriate baseline data and
milestones for accomplishments;

o Availability of Students
-The availability of significant numbers of underrepresented minority students
in the participating science department(s) who are potentially interested in
research careers in biomedical and health-related fields;

o Program Director and Designated Preceptors
-The qualifications and experience of the Program Director, faculty and staff
to carry out the proposed program; 
-The past training record of designated preceptors, measured by the success of
former trainees of any ethnic group, in establishing independent and
productive research careers and serving as mentors;
-The caliber of the proposed preceptors as researchers, including their
successful competition for research support;

o Institutional Commitment
-Evidence of institutional commitment, and strength of the efforts of the
institution(s), to foster the professional development of underrepresented
minority scientists.

o Integration and Partnerships
-Integration with other programs within the institution(s);
-Partnerships with graduate, medical, or research institutions for the purpose
of placing students.

In addition to the above criteria, in accordance with NIH policy, all
applications will also be reviewed with respect to the following:

o The reasonableness of the proposed budget and duration in relation to the
proposed program.

Other Considerations

o  The budget and cost-effectiveness of the program, including its
appropriateness to the scope of the program, and the number of students
involved;

o  Integration with other programs within the institution(s);

o  Partnerships with graduate, medical, or research institutions for the
purpose of placing students.

Schedule

Letter of Intent Receipt Date:    February, 21, 2001
Application Receipt Date:         March 30, 2001
Peer Review Date:                 July, 2001
Council Review:                   September, 2001
Earliest Anticipated Start Date:  September 30, 2001

AWARD CRITERIA

Criteria that will be used to make award decisions include:

o scientific/technical merit (as determined by peer review);

o  availability of funds;

o  programmatic priorities.

INQUIRIES

Inquiries concerning this RFA are encouraged.  The opportunity to clarify any
issues or answer questions from potential applicants is welcome.

Direct inquiries regarding programmatic issues to:

John Fakunding, Ph.D.
Division of Heart and Vascular Diseases
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
Rockledge Building, Room 9170
Bethesda, MD  20892
Telephone:  (301) 435-0544
FAX: (301) 480-1336
Email: Fakundij@nih.gov

Direct inquiries regarding review issues to:

Dr. Deborah Beebe
Division of Extramural Affairs
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute 
Rockledge Building, Room 7178, MSC 7924
Bethesda, MD  20892-7924
Bethesda, MD 20817 (for express/courier service)
Telephone: (301) 435-0270
FAX: (301) 480-3541
Email: beebed@nhlbi.nih.gov

Direct inquiries regarding fiscal matters to:

Owen Bobbit
Grants Operations Branch
Division of Extramural Affairs
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute 
Rockledge 2, Room 7134
Bethesda, MD  20892
Telephone: (301) 435-0184
FAX: (301) 480-3310
Email: bobbitto@nhlbi.nih.gov

AUTHORITY AND REGULATIONS

This program is described in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance No.
93.3837.  Awards are made under authorization of Sections 301 and 405 of the
Public Health Service Act as amended (42 USC 241 and 284) and administered
under NIH grants policies and Federal Regulations 42 CFR 52 and 45 CFR Parts
74 and 92.  This program is not subject to the intergovernmental review
requirements of Executive Order 12372 or Health Systems Agency review.

The PHS strongly encourages all grant recipients to provide a smoke-free
workplace and promote the non-use of all tobacco products.  In addition,
Public Law 103-227, the Pro-Children Act of 1994, prohibits smoking in certain
facilities (or in some cases, any portion of a facility) in which regular or
routine education, library, day care, health care, or early childhood
development services are provided to children.  This is consistent with the
PHS mission to protect and advance the physical and mental health of the
American people.


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