Journal of Science Education and Technology

, Volume 23, Issue 1, pp 138–144 | Cite as

A Controlled Evaluation of a High School Biomedical Pipeline Program: Design and Methods

  • Marilyn A. Winkleby
  • Judith Ned
  • David Ahn
  • Alana Koehler
  • Kathleen Fagliano
  • Casey Crump


Given limited funding for school-based science education, non-school-based programs have been developed at colleges and universities to increase the number of students entering science- and health-related careers and address critical workforce needs. However, few evaluations of such programs have been conducted. We report the design and methods of a controlled trial to evaluate the Stanford Medical Youth Science Program’s Summer Residential Program (SRP), a 25-year-old university-based biomedical pipeline program. This 5-year matched cohort study uses an annual survey to assess educational and career outcomes among four cohorts of students who participate in the SRP and a matched comparison group of applicants who were not chosen to participate in the SRP. Matching on sociodemographic and academic background allows control for potential confounding. This design enables the testing of whether the SRP has an independent effect on educational- and career-related outcomes above and beyond the effects of other factors such as gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic background, and pre-intervention academic preparation. The results will help determine which curriculum components contribute most to successful outcomes and which students benefit most. After 4 years of follow-up, the results demonstrate high response rates from SRP participants and the comparison group with completion rates near 90 %, similar response rates by gender and ethnicity, and little attrition with each additional year of follow-up. This design and methods can potentially be replicated to evaluate and improve other biomedical pipeline programs, which are increasingly important for equipping more students for science- and health-related careers.


Education Program evaluation Science Students 



This work was supported by the Science Educational Partnership Award (SEPA) from the National Center for Research Resources, a component of the National Institutes of Health (R25RR026011). The authors thank Justine Aguilar-Blake, Diana Austria, Nell Curran, Anna Felberg, and Dale Lemmerick for contributions to SMYSP and follow-up evaluation. In-kind resources are provided by Stanford University, Stanford School of Medicine, Stanford Prevention Research Center, Stanford Hospital and Clinics, Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, and the Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System.


  1. American Psychological Association, Presidential Task Force on Educational Disparities (2012) Ethnic and racial disparities in education: psychology’s contributions to understanding and reducing disparities. Retrieved on 1 Feb 2013, from
  2. Beck P, Githens JH, Clinkscales D, Yamamoto D, Riley CM, Ward HP (1978) Recruitment and retention program for minority and disadvantaged students. J Med Educ 53(8):651–657Google Scholar
  3. Butler WT, Thomson WA, Morrissey CT, Miller LM, Smith QW (1991) Baylor’s program to attract minority students and others to science and medicine. Acad Med 66(6):305–311CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Cregler LL (1993) Enrichment programs to create a pipeline to biomedical science careers. J Assoc Acad Minor Physicians 4(4):127–131Google Scholar
  5. Cummings P, McKnight B (2004) Analysis of matched cohort data. Stata J 4(3):274–281Google Scholar
  6. Davis JA, Davidson CP (1982) The Med-COR study: preparing high school students for health careers. J Med Educ 57(7):527–534Google Scholar
  7. Felix DA, Hertle MD, Conley JG, Washington LB, Bruns PJ (2004) Assessing precollege science education outreach initiatives: a funder’s perspective. Cell Biol Educ 3(3):189–195CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Jones F, Flowers JC (1990) New York’s statewide approach to increase the number of minority applicants to medical school. Acad Med 65(11):671–674CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Marshall EC (1975) An experiment in health careers recruitment: a summer program at Indiana University. J Am Optom Assoc 46(12):1284–1292Google Scholar
  10. McKendall SB, Simoyi P, Chester AL, Rye JA (2000) The health sciences and technology academy: utilizing pre-college enrichment programming to minimize post-secondary education barriers for underserved youth. Acad Med 75(10 Suppl):S121–S123CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. Department of Education (2007) The condition of education 2007 (NCES 2007–064). U.S. Government Printing Office, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  12. National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. Department of Education (2011) The nation’s report card: science 2009, national assessment of educational progress (NAEP) at grades 4, 8, and 12 (NCES 2011-451). Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, Washington. Retrieved on 1 Feb 2013, from
  13. Nickens HW, Ready TP, Petersdorf RG (1994) Project 3000 by 2000. Racial and ethnic diversity in U.S. medical schools. N Engl J Med 331(7):472–476CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Rohrbaugh MC, Corces VG (2011) Opening pathways for underrepresented high school students to biomedical research careers: the Emory University RISE program. Genetics 189(4):1135–1143CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Rosenbaum JT, Martin TM, Farris KH, Rosenbaum RB, Neuwelt EA (2007) Can medical schools teach high school students to be scientists? Fed Am Soc Exp Biol J 21:1954–1957Google Scholar
  16. Sikes SS, Schwartz-Bloom RD (2009) LEAP! launch into education about pharmacology: transforming students into scientists. Mol Interv 9(5):215–219CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Silverstein SC, Dubner J, Miller J, Glied S, Loike JD (2009) Teachers’ participation in research programs improves their students’ achievement in science. Science 326(5951):440–442CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Thurmond VB, Cregler LL (1994) Career choices of minority high school student research apprentices at a health science center. Acad Med 69(6):507CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. U.S. Department of Education (2007) Report of the Academic Competitiveness Council. U.S. Department of Education, Washington. Retrieved on 1 Feb 2013, from
  20. U.S. Department of Education (2011) Statement by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan on the Release of the NAEP Science Report Card. U.S. Department of Education, Washington. Retrieved on 1 Feb 2013, from
  21. Winkleby MA (2007) The Stanford medical youth science program: 18 years of a biomedical program for low-income high school students. Acad Med 82(2):139–145CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Winkleby M, Ned J (2010) Promoting science education. J Am Med Assoc 303(10):983–984CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Winkleby MA, Ned J, Ahn D, Koehler AR, Kennedy J (2009) Increasing diversity in science and health professions: a 21-year longitudinal study documenting college and career success. J Sci Educ Technol 18:535–545CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Xin M (2001) Participation in advanced mathematics: do expectation and influence of students, peers, teachers, and parents matter? Contemp Educ Psychol 26(1):132–146CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marilyn A. Winkleby
    • 1
  • Judith Ned
    • 1
  • David Ahn
    • 1
  • Alana Koehler
    • 1
  • Kathleen Fagliano
    • 1
  • Casey Crump
    • 2
  1. 1.Stanford Prevention Research CenterStanford UniversityStanfordUSA
  2. 2.Department of MedicineStanford UniversityPalo AltoUSA

Personalised recommendations