Comparisons and approaches of PREP programs at different stages of maturity: Challenges, best practices and benefits

Nancy B. Schwartz, Laurie E. Risner, Miriam Domowicz, Victoria H. Freedman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The Postbaccalaureate Research Education Programs (PREP) are designed to provide research training and educational opportunities for recent baccalaureate graduates from targeted groups defined by NIH who would benefit by academic enhancements between the completion of undergraduate studies and admission to a PhD program. These programs offer exposure to the biomedical science community in a way that helps post-undergraduate individuals visualize future careers as well-trained, enthusiastic leaders in biomedical research who represent and will promote diversity in science. Specifically, PREPs provide the preparation and skills required for entrance into, and successful completion of, a PhD program via in-depth exposure to a research setting, which helps to refine the post-undergraduate's research interests, assists in providing a realistic understanding of the end results one can expect from research, and offers a forum for discussion with lab peers and mentors about possible career paths. Beyond the lab, PREPs offer programmatic activities to develop analytical, writing, and oral presentation skills necessary for a competitive graduate school application and success in graduate school thereafter. Individual mentoring increases the post-undergraduate's confidence and familiarity with members of the research community, so that pursuit of a PhD becomes a realistic and less-intimidating path. Interventions and developmental activities are matched to the background preparation, research experience, and learning style of each post-undergraduate. As with all training programs, there is no perfect model and each program must fit in and adapt to their respective institutional environments and cultures. Thus, in this article, we provide perspectives and approaches developed by a long-standing program in existence almost since the beginning of the PREP program along with one PREP at an early stage of maturity, having just been through one renewal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)55-64
Number of pages10
JournalEthnicity and Disease
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2020


  • Diversity
  • Intervention
  • Mentoring
  • Post-baccalaureate
  • Research
  • STEM

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology


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