February 28, 2001

What's the solution to recruiting minority students into science? The University of North Texas Health Science Center uses a successful outreach program that has earned the institution national recognition.

Minority Access has named UNTHSC a "Role Model Institution" to recognize its efforts in recruiting minority students. The company works with the National Institutes of Health's (NIH) Office of Minority Research to identify institutions with an exemplary commitment to and success in producing minority biomedical student researchers.

UNTHSC was selected as a role model because of the ongoing outreach efforts of its Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. These efforts contributed to an increase in African-American and Hispanic students at the health science center while national enrollment figures were declining.

"We designed creative strategies to reach new students, and they've been the key to recruiting minority students into studying science here," said Thomas Yorio, Ph.D., graduate school dean. "We encourage students from elementary school through their college years to enter science fields."

In the academic year 1999-2000, the graduate school was recognized as the leading State of Texas health science center based on the percentage of its minority graduate enrollment. In the present entering class, fully 36 percent of the class is under-represented minorities, almost equal to the 39 percent of the class that is Caucasian students.

In 1993, the Graduate School opened with 66 students, including five Hispanics and one African-American. This fall, 113 students were enrolled in the program, including 15 Hispanics and 11 African-Americans.

"We build relationships with institutions that have strong science programs but no doctoral degrees. Working together, we can bridge their students' education into a doctoral degree in biomedical sciences," said Robert Kaman, Ph.D., J.D., director, UNTHSC Minority Outreach Office.

UNTHSC is composed of the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine, the School of Public Health, and the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. The center's six Institutes for Discovery conduct leading-edge research on select health issues, including vision, aging, cancer, heart disease, physical medicine, and public health. A 110-member physician group practice, The Physicians & Surgeons Medical Group, manages 188,000 Fort Worth-area patient visits yearly.

Program examples and additional information are available online at http://www.hsc.unt.edu.

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