The United States is a leader in scientific research and training but the workforce, especially at the most competitive levels, remains less diverse than the general population. In a country where underrepresented minorities amount to approximately 30% of the population, the collective number of doctorates being produced annually in the Life Sciences and reflected in the STEM disciplines remain below 10%, This is even less among the faculty and training population at the major research centers in the country. The American Society for Cell Biology Minorities Affairs Committee has for several years provided national leadership in broadening participation in scientific research. We seek to continue this work through a number of innovative activities that are driven by two overarching aims: 1. Increase participation of underrepresented minorities in the scholarly activities of the American Society for Cell Biology. 2. Provide training opportunities for URM scientists at all levels in the pipeline. The activities under these goals include outreach (Linkage Fellows), training and development (Career development workshops, short courses at the Marine Biological Laboratory and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory), travel awards to the ASCB annual meetings, and mentoring programs impacting undergraduate through professional levels. These goals are to be accomplished through activities that have benefited from a very rigorous evaluation effort in past years that have informed their proven effectiveness. Some of these activities have grown in response to tremendous demand as reflected in participation and interest. Second, we have added activities such as a mentoring program that reflect the stated needs of the community. Consistent with general efforts we seek to increase the number of underrepresented minorities in science careers, however, we have developed two major foci in this respect. First, we seek to aggressively develop faculty and students at the minority serving institutions where the URM faculty and student populations tend to concentrate. Second, we have developed activities that will broaden access and opportunities for URM scientists to train and pursue their professional goals at our most competitive research institutions. Our track record of accomplishment, the level of innovation in our programs and diligent evaluation efforts will maximize the impact of our programs and activities in making the scientific workforce better reflect the general population. This will expand access to the education, training and employment in scientific research careers to a segment of the population expected to comprise a majority by the year 2042.
This program is aimed at increasing the level of participation of underrepresented minorities in research careers. Diversity in these careers, especially in leadership positions has direct relevance to science policy and resource allocation that in turn have direct implications on health disparities and training.
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