Skip to content

Center On Health Disparities

Graduate Programs

The future of medicine depends on biomedical research and the new discoveries that research brings to disease mechanisms.  However, disparities exist, not only in healthcare and disease but also in the researchers who push biomedicine forward.  The VCU-IMSD program is intended to address this disparity by increasing the number of underrepresented minorities who pursue PhD level training in biomedical research.  Participants should be from diverse backgrounds and interested in pursuing a Ph.D. or M.D./Ph.D. degree in biomedical research career in academia or industry.  


Graduate Program Components

EXPOSE - Highly qualified underrepresented graduate students to VCU biomedical PhD programs and high-quality biomedical research

ELEVATE - Written and oral communication skills

ENGAGE - The wider VCU community in biomedical research and professional training


Current Graduate Research Training Opportunities

The VCU Initiative for Maximizing Student Development (VCU IMSD) Graduate program has been in effect since 2010 to provide training and increase UR scholars in the biomedical enterprise.  To date, 16 graduate scholars have been supported through the VCU IMSD program and four IMSD PhD students have successfully defended their PhD degrees.  PhD students funded and trained through IMSD have been selected from the School of Engineering, CHS, SOM, and the CCTR and were from 9 PhD programs Biochemistry (BIOC), Biomedical Engineering (BME), Chemistry (CHEM), Clinical and Translational Research (CCTR), Microbiology (MICR), Neuroscience (NEUS), Pharmacology and Toxicology (PHTX), Physiology and Biophysics (PHYS), and Social and Behavioral Health (SOBH).  The majority of these students (11/15) were selected from the SOM Biomedical Science Doctoral Portal (BSDP) pool.  In the past funding cycle, 60% of the undergraduate scholars have entered PhD programs at various institutions nationally.  You can learn more about the VCU IMSD-Graduate program here.



Hamid I. Akbarali, PhD: Co-Director, VCU IMSD

Joyce A. Lloyd, PhD:  Co-Director, VCU IMSD

Sarah Golding, PhD:  Director, VCU IMSD Undergraduate Programming

Mychal Smith, PhD:  Director, VCU IMSD Graduate Programming

View graphic version