skip navigation

NIGMS Logo NIGMS > Minority Programs Update > Spring/Summer 2002 > Important Events in MARC and MBRS History

graphic text: 'Inside this Issue'



Print Version (PDF)
(requires free Adobe Acrobat Reader)

Important Events in MARC and MBRS History

1962 Congress creates NIGMS with Public Law 87-838, authorizing the Surgeon General of the U.S. Public Health Service (PHS) to establish an institute to support research and research training in the basic medical sciences and in related natural or behavioral sciences.

1963 The Secretary of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare approves establishment of NIGMS, with Dr. Clinton C. Powell as its first director. The National Advisory General Medical Sciences (NAGMS) Council holds its first meeting.

1964 Dr. Frederick L. Stone is named NIGMS director. Dr. Geraldine P. Woods is appointed to the NAGMS Council

1965-1969 An analysis indicates that minority institutions receive less than $2 million in research grants from NIH, 80 percent of which goes to Howard University in Washington, DC, and Meharry Medical College in Nashville, TN. Approximately 1 out of every 400 NIH grants is awarded to a minority institution

photo of Dr. Woods
Dr. Geraldine Woods

1969 Stone asks Woods to serve as a special consultant to the Office of the Director, NIGMS, with the assignment of working out a plan for developing training and research programs for historically Black colleges and universities.Woods, Stone, and other NIGMS staff members, including Dr. Charles Miller and Dr. Carl Kuether, write to and visit a number of these schools. During these visits, they assess faculty, institutional, and student needs.

1970 Woods presents her findings at a meeting that includes NIH Director Dr. Robert Q. Marston and the directors of the individual NIH institutes. She reports that minority institutions are eager to improve their research facilities, to increase student and faculty research training capabilities, to enhance science curricula, and to provide for faculty development. She also contacts Senator Edward Brooke of Massachusetts, Representative Louis Stokes of Ohio, and Representative Augustus Hawkins of California to discuss the Institute's activities and proposed support mechanisms. Dr. DeWitt Stetten, Jr., is named NIGMS director.

1971 In February, President Richard Nixon includes a section titled "Special Help for Black Institutions" in a message to Congress. The Senate Committee on Appropriations of the 92nd Congress, under the leadership of Senator Edward Brooke, issues a report in July that recommends that $2 million be used under the authority of Section 301(c) of the amended PHS Act to launch the Minority Schools Biomedical Support (MSBS) program in 1972.

1972 The MSBS program awards grants to 38 "charter" minority institutions in June. The program, administered by the NIH Division of Research Resources (DRR), involves 199 faculty members, 288 undergraduates, 44 graduate students, and 1 postdoctoral student. It includes 32 predominantly Black, 1 Native American, 1 Hawaiian, 1 Puerto Rican, and 3 mainland Hispanic institutions. Encouraged by Senator Brooke, the MARC Visiting Scientist and Faculty Fellowship programs are officially established. The first faculty fellows receive their awards in August.

1973 The first MSBS symposium is held in April at Xavier University in New Orleans, LA. In attendance are 250 faculty members and students, as well as several invited speakers from NIH. The attendees present 76 papers. MSBS expands in September to include tribal colleges run by Native American reservations. As a result of this expanded eligibility, it is considered inappropriate to retain the word "schools" in the program's title, which is changed to the Minority Biomedical Support (MBS) program.

photo of Dr. Kirschstein
Dr. Ruth Kirschstein

1974 Dr. Ruth L. Kirschstein is appointed NIGMS director. The second annual MBS symposium includes the first meeting of the program directors with NIH MBS program staff.

1975 MARC is officially established as a program under the authority of Section 301 of the Public Health Service Act to assist minority institutions in developing strong undergraduate curricula in biomedical sciences and to stimulate undergraduates' interest in biomedical research. NIH Director Dr. Robert S. Stone requests the coordination of all existing or planned minority research and training support activities. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and the National Cancer Institute are the first NIH components to co-fund MBS grants.

Dr. Ciriaco Q. Gonzales is appointed MBS program director. The MBS program becomes a separate branch in the Division of Research Resources.

1976 Elward Bynum is appointed MARC program director.

1977 The MARC Honors Undergraduate Research Training (HURT) program begins with 12 grants supporting 93 trainees and a budget of almost $1 million. The May issue of the NIH Research Resources Reporter states that 399 MBS-trained students have graduated with degrees in science and of these, 297 are pursuing advanced degrees. In December, the MBS Program Directors Organization is formed.

1978 The sixth annual MBS symposium features for the first time an address by a Nobel laureate, Dr. William Lipscomb (chemistry, 1976). The meeting, held at the Atlanta University Center in Georgia, is expanded to include paid exhibitors. The meeting is dedicated to Woods.

Dr. Richard M. Eakin, professor emeritus of zoology at the University of California, Berkeley, becomes the first MARC Visiting Scientist. He spends a semester at Tougaloo College in Mississippi.

1980 The MARC HURT program receives its largest budgetary increase to date — from $1.8 to $3.3 million, allowing 13 new programs to be added. The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) begins its Visiting Scientists Program for Minority Institutions with support from the MARC program.

1981 The MARC Predoctoral Fellowship is established to provide further incentive to graduates of the MARC honors undergraduate program to obtain research training in the nation's best graduate programs. In September, the first MARC Scholars Conference and Program Directors Meeting takes place in Bethesda, MD. Several NIH scientists attend and give seminars on their research. Special workshops provide students with information on graduate schools, test-taking skills, and summer research opportunities.

1982 MBS is renamed the Minority Biomedical Research Support (MBRS) program to reflect the program's research scope.

1983 The MBRS Associate Investigator program is founded to provide an opportunity for minority students to participate in ongoing biomedical research under the supervision of established investigators at certain institutions.

1984 The MARC HURT program has 389 undergraduate trainees in 52 programs involving 56 institutions, and over 800 alumni. The MARC budget is almost $5 million. By the end of the year, all categorical institutes at NIH are co-funding MBRS projects.

1985 The MARC program grants 15 faculty fellowships, the highest number in any single year to date. The Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences publishes Minority Access to Research Careers: An Evaluation of the Honors Undergraduate Research Training Program. Written by Dr. Howard H. Garrison and Ms. Prudence W. Brown, the report states that 76 percent of former MARC trainees had enrolled in graduate or professional school.

1986 The MBRS program grows to include 100 institutions. At the 14th annual MBRS symposium, program directors express their desire for a history of MBRS to be written from the perspective of grantees. The document, The History of the Minority Biomedical Research Support Program, is written by Dr. Joyce Verrett and published in 1988. The American Society for Microbiology (ASM) begins its Visiting Scientists Program with support from MARC.

1987 NIH celebrates its centennial. The first combined meeting of the MARC and MBRS programs, titled the "NIH Centennial MBRS-MARC Symposium" takes place in Arlington, VA, in October.

The MBRS and MARC programs, in collaboration with Howard University in Washington, DC, produce a 15th anniversary video titled "A Time for Celebration."

1988 The Task Force on Women, Minorities, and the Handicapped in Science and Technology issues an interim report to President Ronald Reagan titled Changing America: The New Face of Science and Engineering. The task force concludes that the United States can meet future potential shortfalls of scientists and engineers only by reaching out and bringing members of underrepresented groups into research careers. The report states that the MARC program is "closest to what we need today. MARC is a prime example of a successful Federal intervention program." The report also found MBRS to be "effective in enhancing the research careers of faculty."

1989 The administration of the MBRS program is transferred from DRR to NIGMS. NIH establishes the Research Supplements for Underrepresented Minorities program in April to support minority scientists working with NIH grantees. NIGMS makes its first 15 awards under the program.

1990 The first annual NIGMS Minority Programs Symposium, a combined meeting of the MARC and MBRS programs, takes place in October at the Convention Center in Nashville, TN. More than 1,800 students and faculty members from over 125 grantee colleges and universities attend. Dr. Stanley Cohen, a 1986 Nobel Prize winner in physiology or medicine, gives the keynote address.

1991 The NIGMS Minority Opportunities in Research (MORE) programs branch (now known as the MORE Division) is established to serve as the focal point for the Institute's efforts to increase the number and capabilities of minority individuals engaged in biomedical research and teaching.

NIGMS grants individual predoctoral fellowships to 65 minority students; another 36 awards are made through co-funding arrangements with the NIH Office of Minority Programs and several other NIH components. NIH awards over $20 million through the Research Supplements for Underrepresented Minorities Program. NIGMS grants the highest number of supplements throughout NIH, providing almost $4 million in funding. The MBRS budget is approximately $31 million, and the MARC budget is approximately $13 million.

The first issue of the NIGMS Minority Programs Update is published.

1992 The MARC and MBRS programs celebrate their 20th anniversary. NIGMS celebrates its 30th anniversary.

1993 The first Bridges to the Future awards are made to 12 institutions. The total cost of the 2-year awards is $3.4 million. The program is a joint initiative of NIGMS and the NIH Office of Research on Minority Health.

photo of Dr. Poodry
Dr. Clifton Poodry

1994 Dr. Clifton Poodry is named first director of the MORE Division, Dr. Adolphus Toliver is appointed MARC program director.

1995 Under the leadership of Poodry, the MORE Division begins a review and assessment of its programs' goals and objectives. As part of this review, in January 1995 the NAGMS Council endorses a set of "guiding principles" for all present and future programs of the MORE Division.

NIGMS conducts a series of surveys to gather information on the outcomes of the MARC HURT program and to determine specific characteristics of the training pathways of MARC students. The results are published in the report, A Study of the Minority Access to Research Careers Honors Undergraduate Research Training Program. The study notes that MARC students have pursued and obtained graduate degrees at higher rates than minority bachelor's degree recipients in biology and chemistry who did not participate in the MARC program.

1996 The MARC HURT program is replaced by the MARC Undergraduate Student Training in Academic Research (U*STAR) program in order to reflect the need for continual improvement in institutional programs. The U*STAR program enables each applicant institution to design a program that emphasizes its environment, mission, and strengths and to set specific objectives and measurable goals against which it will be evaluated when it recompetes for funding.

The MORE Faculty Development and Initiative for Minority Student Development (IMSD) awards are established. Dr. Ernest Marquez is named MBRS program director. Dr. Marvin Cassman is appointed NIGMS director.

1997 In an effort to increase the number of participants and flexibility of student development activities, the MBRS program announces major changes in its grant programs. The traditional MBRS grant mechanisms are replaced with two new initiatives: Support of Continuous Research Excellence (SCORE) and Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement (RISE). These programs join the existing MBRS IMSD program.

1998 The Institutional Research and Academic Career Development Award (IRACDA) is announced in an effort to facilitate the progress of postdoctoral candidates toward research and teaching careers in academia.

1999 NIGMS and the Indian Health Service (IHS) bring together Native American scientists from around the country to discuss the research training needs of Native Americans. Recommendations include encouraging Native American tribes to participate in research as applicant organizations; supporting and extending successful training activities of Native American scientific societies, including programs targeting pre-college students; and enhancing the outreach activities of existing clinical and community-based research programs.

2000 As a result of the 1999 meeting with Native American scientists, NIGMS and IHS begin collaborating on the Native American Research Centers for Health program.

NIGMS publishes the report The Careers and Professional Activities of Former NIGMS Minority Access to Research Careers Predoctoral Fellows. Overall, the results of this study show a favorable achievement pattern for former MARC predoctoral fellows.

2001 The MORE Division announces the Post-Baccalaureate Research Education Program (PREP) to encourage underrepresented minorities who hold a recent baccalaureate degree in a biomedically relevant science to pursue a research career.

In 2001, 683 faculty members at 113 institutions worked on 407 MBRS research projects, and 1,195 undergraduate and 765 graduate students participated in these projects as research assistants. The number of MBRS student participants has nearly doubled since 1997.

MARC support in 2001 went to 647 students at 63 institutions that participated in the undergraduate program; 45 students who received MARCpredoctoral fellowships; 2 faculty members who received training and/or degrees through the faculty fellowship program; and 75 NIH predoctoral fellowships, 25 of which were new in fiscal year 2001.

2002 NIGMS celebrates its 40th anniversary, and the MARC and MBRS programs commemorate 30 years.

The MARC program budget is nearly $31 million, and the MBRS program budget is approximately $92 million.

<< Previous Article | Next Article >>