Improving Representation of Underrepresented Minority (URM) Students in Oncology Biomedical Research Workforce: Outcome Evaluation from the ReTOOL Program

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Journal of Cancer Education


The Research Training Opportunities for Outstanding Leaders (ReTOOL) program was implemented in 2012 to increase the representation of racial and ethnic minorities in the biomedical workforce. Specifically, the ReTOOL program aims to foster the capacity for scientific research among underserved populations as well as address the cultural appropriateness of research projects. This paper describes the impact of the ReTOOL program in enhancing the research training of underrepresented minority (URM) students. Forty URM students who completed the ReTOOL program between 2012 and 2019 were invited to participate in the program evaluation. The response rate was 73% with 29 participants. Of the 29 participants, 26 trainees self-identified as Black or African-American. A structured survey developed for the program was employed for data collection, using a Likert Scale ranging from 1 to 5, with 5 being the best. The item ratings ranged from 4.45 to 4.80. Responses to open-ended questions show that ReTOOL has been instrumental in socializing and acculturating participants into the habits of scientific thinking. The combined use of quantitative and qualitative inquiry depicts that ReTOOL has been highly successful in fostering participant enrollment in advanced health-related or professional degree programs.


Health and Human Performance

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