URMC/RIT/NTID Awarded $2.1M to Train Deaf Scientists

Aug. 27, 2013

Tom PearsonShattering the glass ceiling for deaf scholars who want to earn a Ph.D. is the primary goal of a new program, recently funded with $2.1 million by the National Institute for General Medical Sciences.

Principal investigator Thomas A. Pearson, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D., at the University of Rochester joined forces with RIT/NTID and the deaf community to find a way to elevate the education of deaf and hard-of-hearing students in biomedical or behavioral sciences. The five-year grant supports special seminars and skill-building workshops on topics like grant-writing and responsible conduct of research and will provide tutoring, counseling, graduate assistantships and a summer-in-residence program.

Researchers also will track graduate degree completion and other career-development outcomes among deaf and hard-of-hearing students in the program, compared to students not enrolled in the program.

The cooperative spirit between UR, Rochester Institute of Technology, and RIT’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf, coupled with steadfast partnership with the deaf community, has led to many successes already. Web videos, health directories, and health surveys have been produced in American Sign Language, for example; and several studies are taking place using a model called community-based participatory research, involving the deaf community in every aspect of the research from the design phase to communication of results.

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