It is well-recognized in the scientific community that data-driven, scientifically rigorous tools are needed to stimulate and enhance efforts to use the talents of all our citizens, including underrepresented minorities and women. There is an additional need to look beyond individual efforts to begin to pursue a system-based analysis. This workshop proposes to address the recommendation from a 2008 National Institutes of Health (NIH)-supported (additional funding provided by the National Science Foundation (NSF)) leadership retreat, "Enhancing Diversity in Science: A Leadership Retreat on the Role of Professional Associations and Scientific Societies," regarding the need to establish a common standard for measuring and evaluating success of diversity-enhancing programs. The workshop further addresses the need to establish a more comprehensive and cohesive effort needed to track the many and various efforts of government (federal, state, and local), foundations, universities, scientific societies, and professional associations. Systematic data collection would allow possible answers to broad and important questions such as: To what extent research training should be supported collaboratively? What are the best practices that could be adapted that would allow for a maximum increase on the return on investment?
Racial and ethnic minority groups, women and individuals from socioeconomically disadvantaged background are significantly underrepresented among health professionals, including those participating in the research enterprise. Yet training of a diverse cadre of young investigators is vital to our scientific vitality and building the necessary demographic for a pipeline of scientists. These future investigators will bring wide-ranging perspectives and research interests. In turn, evidence suggests that a more diverse scientific workforce can lead to improvements in public health and better educational experiences for all health profession students. Additionally, there is the need for data-driven, scientifically rigorous tools to enhance programmatic efforts to capture the talents of our diverse citizenry and to stimulate more systemic collaboration. This workshop begins to pursue those goals.