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June 12, 2001

Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Grant to Fund Minority Scholarships, Diabetes Research

Baltimore, Md. – Increasing the numbers of minorities in the sciences and exposing the next generation of researchers to the challenge of finding a cure for diabetes is the goal of a partnership announced today between the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). The JDRF's four-year, $240,000 commitment will support four UMBC Meyerhoff Scholars and provide research opportunities for the Scholars at JDRF labs nationwide.

Established in 1988 to address the shortage of high-achieving minorities in the sciences, the Meyerhoff Scholarship Program has been hailed by the National Science Foundation, the College Board, and past presidents of Harvard and Princeton for its track record in preparing large numbers of minorities for the most prestigious graduate schools in the nation. African Americans earn only 2.8% of all Ph.D. degrees in the physical sciences, according to the annual Survey of Earned Doctorates conducted by the University of Chicago's National Opinion Research Center. More than 20 Meyerhoff scholars have received their Ph.D. and another 96 are currently enrolled in either Ph.D. or M.D./Ph.D. programs.

“UMBC has created a model of minority science education and a pipeline into the top graduate schools. We see this grant as a way to widen that pipeline and provide an opportunity for these students to work alongside JDRF researchers,” says JDRF Chief Scientific Officer, Robert Goldstein, M.D./Ph.D.

Diabetes, which affects more than 16 million Americans, is the leading cause of adult blindness, kidney failure, and amputations and a leading cause of heart attacks, strokes and nerve damage. It accounts for more than $105 billion of annual U.S. health care costs and one of every four Medicare dollars goes to pay for the health care of people with diabetes. Juvenile diabetes strikes children suddenly, makes them insulin dependent for life, and carries the constant threat of devastating complications.

“Meyerhoff Scholars are the doctors, teachers, and researchers of tomorrow. Each one of them will significantly change the face of science at the highest levels, inspiring future generations through their achievement,” says UMBC President and Meyerhoff Program Co-founder Freeman A. Hrabowski, III, Ph.D. “The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation's support is an important next step in the development of the Meyerhoff Program.”

The program has graduated nearly 300 students since its inception, 70% of whom are enrolled in Ph.D., M.D., or M.D./Ph.D. programs at such institutions as Harvard, the University of Pennsylvania, and Stanford.

UMBC is a mid-sized research university located between Baltimore and Washington, D.C. Founded in 1966, the university is the fourth leading producer of biochemistry bachelor's degrees in the U.S., and the nation's top producer of African American biochemistry bachelor's degrees. An historically diverse institution (one-third minority students), UMBC has twice received the U.S. Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring.

JDRF, the world's leading nonprofit, nongovernmental funder of diabetes research, was founded in 1970 by the parents of children with juvenile diabetes. Since inception, JDRF has provided more than $410 million to diabetes research worldwide. In 2001 alone, the Foundation will spend $120 million and 85 cents of every dollar goes directly to research and education about research. JDRF's mission is constant: to find a cure for diabetes and its complications through the support of research. For more information, visit the website at www.jdrf.org, or call 800-533-CURE.

Posted by dwinds1 at June 12, 2001 12:00 AM