Pipeline Programs

CDU provides programs to educate the youth of our community to ensure their long-term success, health, and well-being.

Saturday Science Academy II

The Saturday Science Academy II (SSA) is the heart and lungs of the Charles Drew University Science Pipeline, breathing inspiration and pumping an “I can do it” belief into young children.  The SSA opens the doors to curiosity and develops the investigative mind that is crucial for successful scientists and health care professionals.  The SSA dispels the myth that the fields of science are either to boring, too hard, or inaccessible to African-American and Latino youth.

The SSA offers three 8-week sessions and one 4-week summer session per year.  Sessions highlight specific areas in the sciences – human physiology and anatomy, marine biology, and the physical sciences (physics, chemistry, and geology).  The first hour of each class is focused on mathematics assignments from the students’ home school in an effort to improve the student’s achievement in mathematics to either reach or exceed grade level performance.  Tutoring is also offered to all SSA students after class during each 9-week session for more practice and instruction.  A critical thinking skills class was also developed to assist students in mathematics and writing. Many students and parents will attest to how these special sessions have increased student knowledge.

Parents are a vital part of the SSA program. Bi-weekly workshops are held with the parents to discuss various educational topics to help parents learn how to assist their children in school and in life.  Parents are also required to volunteer at least 15 hours during the year.

A national educational model, the SSA is the life force of the pipeline which begins at preschool and extends through the university level. Additionally, many of the teachers and teachers’ assistants were former SSA students.  Many of the teachers return during their college breaks to teach in the program while continuing their own education. Enrolling children from the surrounding communities, the SSA plays a dynamic part in the process of creating future health care professionals who will ultimately serves those communities.  The program intervenes at a crucial period in a child’s development when the direction of life can either be positively or negatively impacted.  The Academy empowers youth by enlightening them.  It gives them some control over their environment by enhancing and stimulating their instincts and their desire to learn in a non-traditional supportive atmosphere.

Contact Information:
Saturday Science Academy II (Health Careers Enrichment Programs)
Director:  Lorraine Grey
Phone: (323) 563-5901
FAX: (323) 563-4932



The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) of the National Institutes of Health is the sponsor for the STEP-UP Program. The program provides an opportunity for high school and undergraduate Image 1-  STEP-UPstudents to conduct biomedical research for eight to ten weeks in the summer in labs throughout the country. 

The purpose of the program is to increase the number of young scientists who are ethnic minorities who are involved in biomedical research, with an emphasis on the areas of diabetes, digestive, and kidney diseases. There is a critical shortage of minorities in biomedical research and the health professions (Hispanic/Latino, African Americans, Native Americans, Asian Pacific Islanders, and Alaskan Native Population). As a result, critical insights and perspectives from these groups are lacking in the development, implementation, and evaluation of the growing and important field of biomedical research and health science.
The program is a collaborative effort between the NIH and CDU as well as University of California San Francisco, University of Hawaii and the University of Nevada Las Vegas.While the NIH provides funding and program oversight, the day-to-day coordination of the program is handled by the four Program Coordinators at these institutions. This program is designed to provide high school students with an opportunity to work in a biomedical laboratory.
While some local students learn at Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, it is a national program and we make arrangements for students around the country to get connected to a research laboratory near their home. Each student is paired with an established researcher and may be assigned to a research team. Students will work with staff on a specific research project such as, diabetes, obesity, kidney disease and other health related topics. 

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For more information, contact:
Mrs. Dolores Caffey-Fleming
Program Coordinator
(323) 249-5716


Project STRIDE

Image 1- Project STRIDE Students Training in Research Involving Disparity Elimination

In response to the critical shortage of minorities in biomedical research and the health professions, the overarching goal of Project STRIDE is to increase the number of underrepresented minority and disadvantaged students in the pipeline who are committed to research careers in the health sciences. Increasing the nation’s cadre of minority clinicians and researchers is a crucial component to eliminating health disparities, especially given that minority researchers and physicians are more likely to work in minority communities than their nonminority Image 2-  Project STRIDE counterparts. STRIDE aims to increase the diversity and quality of the Image 3-  Project STRIDE research workforce specifically in regard to the ongoing nationwide effort to better understand the complex health-related needs of low-income, medically underserved populations and thereby, ultimately, reducing disparities in health care accessibility, quality, and outcomes.

Project STRIDE will also provide an in-depth health science immersion experience to underrepresented high school students, though all program enrollees will be primarily from King/Drew Magnet High School of Medicine and Science, Health Sciences Academy and other high schools in the Watts community of South Los Angeles.

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