The importance of professional development for biomedical and clinical researchers has led to the development of trainee-targeted courses and workshops at various institutions, including professional societies. However, there is a lack of programs focused on the unique needs of minorities underrepresented in the sciences. To meet this need, The Endocrine Society has developed the Future Leaders Advancing Research in Endocrinology (FLARE) Program, a multi-faceted training program for minority graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in endocrine-related research. The objective of the program is to invest in the continued professional growth of these trainees to enhance their preparedness for advancement as leaders within The Endocrine Society, at their home institution, and in the scientific community at large. Program components include a leadership training workshop, a mentoring network to build relationships between minority trainees and dedicated mentors, and a Society-based internship program for the trainees that includes two components: participation in a governing committee of The Endocrine Society and informal mentoring of minority undergraduate students in the Society's existing summer research program. The Society will also participate in other well-established diversity and outreach initiatives such as the Keystone Symposia Fellows Program, and seek additional mentors and workshop faculty from affinity groups such as the Network of Minority Research Investigators. Taken together, the FLARE Program will provide minority trainees with a distinct set of professional development and enhancement opportunities that will prepare them for success in biomedical and clinical research careers.
Chronic, endocrine diseases such as diabetes disproportionately affect certain populations including racial and ethnic minorities, yet these same populations are often underrepresented among the professionals that study and treat these diseases. Recruitment and retention of a diverse biomedical and clinical workforce is one possible solution to addressing the issue of health disparities. Professional development efforts such as the Future Leaders Advancing Research in Endocrinology (FLARE) Program will enhance the recruitment and retention of minority trainees within the biomedical and clinical workforce and prepare them to advance as productive leaders within the scientific community. A strong mentorship component to the Program will also ensure that these individuals will go on to inspire future generations of diverse biomedical and clinical professionals.