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Acceptance Criteria

Predoctoral applicants are evaluated on the basis of:
  1. an undergraduate major – with a Bachelor of Science or related degree in biology, molecular biology, genetics, environmental science, mathematics or related field with superior academic achievement;
  2. G.R.E. scores of 600 per area or above,
  3. the quality and strength of letters of recommendations,
  4. the applicants desire to do research in areas related to children’s health and
  5. previous laboratory and clinical research experience.

The postdoctoral fellows must also have proven academic accomplishments and hold the degrees of PhD or MD There are two postdoctoral programs. One is for those who have a PhD in epidemiology, biostatistics, molecular biology, molecular toxicology or genetics. For the PhD postdoctoral fellowship the individual will have had previous training in one programmatic area, e.g., epidemiology, and seeking research mentorship in another area, e.g. molecular genetics or vice versa. The PhD postdoctoral fellow will likely need a few courses to round their knowledge base but will spend at least 80% undertaking research. The postdoctoral physician applicant should have completed three years of their pediatric residency and have a strong interest in doing epidemiological or clinical studies using molecular skills and available cutting edge technology.

Students with undergraduate degrees in molecular biology, molecular genetics or related fields are optimum candidates for predoctoral study. The Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics (DEB) in the Department of Environmental and Public Health Sciences (DEPHS) has had over 60 applicants per year.

There are two excellent programs that will augment our predoctoral recruitment pool:

  1. Physician Scientist Training Program (PSTP)
    The PSTP program has 34 students currently, and we have three of these in the DEB. PSTP had an excellent year recruiting 7 students from Providence College, Xavier University, Eastern Michigan University, University of Dayton, Harvard, Duke and the Ohio State University. The summer undergraduate internship program also continues to be highly competitive and successful which is a part of this program and last year attracted 22 participants. This program is targeted to science undergraduates at highly ranked colleges and universities (ref. U.S. News and World Report issue on America’s Best Colleges) who have difficulty deciding whether to apply to graduate school or medical school and over 130 undergraduates applied last year. In addition to 9 weeks of full time research, the Interns have meetings with clinician-scientists, rounds with physicians, tour facilities, attend interesting surgeries and autopsies, work as volunteers in the ER in evenings and weekends and – of course – have ample contact with MD/PhD students and Program administrators. Thus the MECEH will draw at least one candidate each year from the PSTP and will participate in the recruitment and interview process with the MECEH as well. PSTP is participating in centralized recruiting activities run by the Office of Research and Graduate Education to enhance ethnic and geographic diversity of applicants and continues to seek high quality students from colleges with a national reputation for excellence. The average time for complete of the MD/PhD degree has gradually declined and is now 7.5 years, the national average. All graduates from the program currently hold faculty, fellowship or residency positions at top rank academic health centers.
  2. Flex Option for incoming COM graduate students
    The Flex Option for graduate students in the biomedical sciences was proposed as a result of a survey of accepted doctoral applicants. Results indicated that many students are looking for a PhD program with flexibility. They want an interdisciplinary program that allows them to become familiar with the research in various departments prior to selecting a specific area of interest. In response to this, we have developed the Flex Option for a few accepted graduate students to be given the option of delaying their commitment to any specific program for one year until core coursework and lab rotations are completed. The College of Medicine has provided funding for the program to commence in Fall 2000. Four applicants will be selected for this program and they will receive tuition and fees, stipend and health insurance through Flex funding for their first year of study only. Funding will include a stipend amount consistent with other graduate programs, and will be competitive with stipends offered by other programs in the region. An Advisory Committee made up of representatives from each PhD granting program in the College of Medicine will act as the Selection Committee for applicants seeking entrance into our graduate programs via the Flex Option. Committee members from the MECEH training program that are on the Flex Option Recruitment Committee include Drs. Highsmith (Chair) and Jarrell. Students who gain acceptance into graduate study via the Flex Option will be free to select any of the graduate programs in the COM. The Advisory Committee has drawn up a potential curriculum for students who enter our graduate program via the Flex Option which are: Molecular Genetics, 3 courses in Molecular Biology of the Cell and Ethics in Research, which are ideal basic courses for the MECEH program. Thus, the Flex Option will provide considerable visibility as well as promote future disciplinary collaborations from the outset.

Underrepresented Racial Ethnic Groups

History and Achievements

University of Cincinnati
The University of Cincinnati and the College of Medicine have long recognized the importance of identifying and recruiting highly qualified minority students. The University is celebrating 36 years of sponsorship of a Graduate Minority Fellows and Scholars Program. During that time, more than 1200 minority students have benefited from the Program. The Office of Research and Advanced Studies offers awards to underrepresented students through the auspices of the Albert C. Yates Fellows and Scholars Program. Yates Fellows & Scholars not only receive financial assistance, but free tutorial services, mentoring, and academic counseling. Members of groups which are underrepresented in specific university programs, and who are from the United States and its territories are eligible to apply. More than 1,500 students have pursued their educational goals through the auspices of the Yates Fellows and Scholars Program. There are currently 15 Yates Fellows and Scholars at the University of Cincinnati, of which 3 reside in the College of Medicine. For Fall 2003, 26 Yates Fellows were named at the university; 3 of these were awarded to incoming graduate students in the College of Medicine. In addition, Dr. Allene Wallace Reed scholarship fund is being developed at the university for second year doctoral students of African-American descent.

To address the current need for increased applications from underrepresented domestic students, the Office of Research & Graduate Education, responsible for centralized support of recruitment of graduate students for the College of Medicine, is targeting historically black colleges and universities. In 2001, the Office of Research & Graduate Education sent representatives to present seminars at historically black colleges, including Tennessee State University in Nashville, Spelman and Morehouse Colleges in Atlanta, and Wilberforce and Central State Universities in Ohio. Among other activities described, recruiters and minority graduate students from the College visit campuses with larger minority student bodies and good science programs to present information about our predoctoral programs in biomedical sciences.

Several plans have been laid out to increase minority enrollment. We are establishing a formal partnership with minority colleges. Two potential colleges with minority students have been identified to serve as partners to develop a partnership or pipeline between the programs. One is the aforementioned Xavier-Tulane pipeline program with the support of Dr. John McLachlan at Tulane University. Dr. Deka plans outreach activities specifically to colleagues at Howard University. We are also exploring opportunities to link with a program in our tri-state area and contacts are underway.

The University sponsors a Minority Graduate and Professional Visitation Program that attracts about 100 students from more than 20 historically Black colleges and universities. The students spend 2-1/2 days on campus visiting graduate departments and programs in which they are interested, including those in the college of medicine, and attending programs and social events, including a banquet, especially designed for this occasion. Visiting students have ample time to interact with faculty and students to learn more about programs of interest. Prospective students are provided with information regarding admission policies and financial aid, and subsequent follow-up is done on a departmental basis, usually by telephone contact.

The College of Medicine also actively participates in the Environmental Health Career Opportunities (EHCO) Program and Albert Yates’ Fellows and Scholars Program. The EHCO Program is designed to involve undergraduate and/or professional school students who belong to ethnic groups currently underrepresented in biomedical science professions in contemporary biomedical research during the summer months. The Program emphasizes comprehensive research, educational and motivational experiences that focus on biomedical research and education careers related to environmental health and associated sciences. The ECHO Program expects to support four participants each year. The Program provides use of the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, University Hospital, Children’s Hospital Medical Center and Research Foundation, and affiliated biomedical research facilities and core resources for summer research, education and training. These students often matriculate as predoctoral students in one of the environmental health sciences.

Department of Environmental and Public Health Sciences
The MARC program has been particularly successful for the Department of Environmental and Public Health Sciences. The College of Medicine provides a descriptive summary of research opportunities available to gradate students to MARC program advisors at about 250 undergraduate institutions, inviting applications from their MARC-supported students for summer research experience at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. In past summers, several MARC students have worked in the laboratories of several MECEH faculty.

The Department of Environmental and Public Health Services also are represented at the NIGMS Minority Programs Symposium by two University of Cincinnati representatives, one faculty member and one graduate student, and as indicated earlier, we participate in the graduate Minority Fellows and Scholars Program, which funded 50 students throughout the University last year.

Epidemiology and Biostatistics
The Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics currently has several minority students. A past African-American student was recipient of the NIEHS Minority Fellowship Award and is currently employed at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Another Hispanic student also has a position in molecular Epidemiology at NIOSH. Two minority students are recipients of the Albert Yates Fellowship. The Division also has trained several physician fellows who have gone on to faculty positions at Howard University and Morehouse School of Medicine.

Plan For Responsible Conduct of Research

Grievances and Misconduct Procedure
It is possible that a trainee may at some point feel unfairly treated. Any such grievance will be handled initially as a matter internal to the Program. The individual concerned should contact a member of his/her Committee who will then notify the Program Director and convene the committee to hear the complaint(s) and attempt to resolve the difficulties. Should this fail, an ad hoc grievance committee will be formed by the Director; this committee will be comprised of two of the training faculty and one trainee. This committee will be responsible for negotiating a mutually acceptable solution. In the event that this proves impossible to achieve, the established Institutional grievance process will be followed.

Ethics and Honesty in Research
The University of Cincinnati and the Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics and the future MECEH will make a serious effort to educate trainees to be responsible scientists. Upon matriculation into the MECEH Program the students will be given two booklets to read, the UC Code of Student Conduct and the NAS. Faculty and trainee honesty, in all aspects of academic and personal life, is essential and is expected behavior. Should the integrity of a member of the training faculty or a trainee be called into question, disposition of the matter will follow College and University Guidelines which are already in place. Should a participant in the MECEH Program be found to have engaged in misconduct or unethical behavior, he or she will be asked to withdraw from the Program. It is important there be a forum to provide guidance regarding issues relating to ethics in science. The Medical College offers a course titled “Ethics in Research,” which is presented in the Winter quarter and which all trainees, postdoctoral and predoctoral, are required to attend. The course examines a series of issues including animal welfare, human experimentation, what constitutes misconduct and institutional response to misconduct, and responsible authorship and publication practices.

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Department of Environmental & Public Health Sciences
Kettering Lab Building
160 Panzeca Way
Cincinnati, OH 45267-0056
Mail Location: 0056

Phone: 513-558-5701