Extending the Path into Medicine

Pathway or pipeline programs are integral to the School of Medicine's endeavor to join in the effort to diversify the provider workforce, to provide a culturally competent education for its learners, and to eliminate the causes of health disparities. The Multicultural Resource Center seeks opportunities to enrich and diversity the applicant pool into medicine and the biomedical sciences.  Medicine and the biomedical sciences have suffered a decline of applicants from under-represented and minority communities since the 1970s. Research has proven that early introduction to math and science, mentoring, and continued exposure to be critical components in the toolbox to stanch this trend. The signature School of Medicine programs are BOOST (Building Opportunities and Overtures in Science and Technology) and the Summer Biomedical Sciences Institute (formerly Summer Medical and Dental Education Program).  

The Summer Biomedical Sciences Institute targets talented pre-health college first-year and sophomore college students who are disadvantaged, from underserved communities, are underrepresented minority, or interested in the health of the underserved. SBSI is a free, six-week residential program of science/math education, clinical experiences, study of medical ethics, health disparities, and learning strategies. Scholars from our program have for the past sixteen years enrolled in medical schools (including Duke University School of Medicine), PhD programs, nursing schools, global health, physician assistant, schools of law, and MPH programs. Nationally, 65% of participants in SMDEP go on to medical or dental school. The Duke data exceed that. Each year students who have participated in SBSI/SMDEP at Duke apply and are accepted to the School of Medicine and to the residency program.  SBSI participants will continue that legacy.

Summer Biomedical Sciences Institute

This decade-old pipeline program has the overarching goals of maintaining interest in science and mathematics, graduation from high school and college, and ultimately matriculation into a health professions education institution or career. BOOST features science enhancement for middle and high school public school students supplemented by individual mentoring and coaching by medical and graduate students. Science teachers are involved in professional development activities; and families are engaged to ensure the success of the BOOST scholar. The program has demonstrated success at retaining and graduating its participants. Nineteen of the 20 who formed the first class of scholars from the initial BOOST graduated from high school, and 12 enrolled in college.  BOOST is funded by a National Institutes of Health Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA).


The Summer Training in Academic Research (STAR) Program provides a high-quality research experience for undergraduate students, high school students, and middle and high school teachers during the summer academic break.

The eight-week program, held June 17 - Aug 8, 2019, will give participants who are interested in science and medicine real hands-on experience in research methodology and writing. Participants are placed in teams and matched with Duke faculty mentors to work on an original, hypothesis-driven project, originating as a one-page summary and culminating in a complete research paper. A goal of the program is to have every participant qualify for co-authorship on a peer-reviewed manuscript related to their team’s project.

Eligibility Requirements

  • U. S. Citizenship
  • High school students and teachers from the Durham or Chapel Hill public schools 
  • North Carolina Central University undergraduate students
  • Duke University undergraduate students
  • Preference will be given to rising juniors and seniors.


  • A stipend will be provided to participants.
  • College students will receive $3200
  • High school students will receive $2600

Program Location

Duke Clinical Research Institute – 2400 Pratt St., Durham NC 27705

The STAR Program

Pre-college students are an important part of the pathway into STEM and medicine.  Directors of these programs who wish to tour the School of Medicine, engage with our medical students, or invite staff to meet with their program participants can request these opportunities by completing the attached form.

We will do our best to accommodate a visit (virtual or in-person).  The academic calendar as well as the availability of students and staff dictate our ability to accommodate a specific date.  We will work with you for a mutually convenient time for your program’s visit.