The TGP provides rigorous training in the science of drug discovery, evaluation, and clinical use through a required core curriculum, paracurricular activities focused on professional skills development, and a signature required internship, where students spend 2?4 months in an industrial or regulatory science setting. The Therapeutics Graduate Program (TGP) is ideally positioned to act as the cutting edge to improve safety culture at HMS. Many of our students intern in industry labs, where safety culture is significantly stronger. We need to train professors and industry group leaders of tomorrow to build safety into the culture of their future research groups. The Environmental Health and Safety Department (EH&S) bears institutional responsibility for lab safety at HMS. They implement web-based initial training modules and yearly online refresher classes. The online modules cover all Federal and State mandated areas of lab safety, but they do not include rationale for safe practices, real-world examples of safety lapses and consequences, lesson-learned or literature analysis. To complement and synergize with the ongoing online training modules, we will work with EH&S, industry and academic experts to design a complementary curriculum that focuses on lessons learned and case analysis to improving safety culture, encouraging active inquiry and empowering trainees to change laboratory culture. Our goals are to: (1) survey lessons learned from academic and industry leaders, (2) develop new content based on these learnings, (3) discuss safety from pa student-centric, interdisciplinary perspective, e.g., have chemistry students explain chemical safety to virology and biology students and vice versa, and (4) empower trainees to change safety culture by discussion with PIs and industry experts in a safe and inclusive class environment. We envision internal, national and industry experts to help in the development of the content and discussion cases, in the teaching of the class and in leading the group discussions. This course will give students a different, broader perspective about the key importance of lab safety. It will give students the opportunity to have in-person discussions about lessons learned. Together, we feel this has the potential to result in changes in individual behaviors and attitudes that can influence other lab members including PIs to significantly create a positive cultural change in this space at HMS. We hope, by expanding on the traditional safety training that students receive from EH&S, and by integrating different perspectives from biopharma, that this deeper dive, with real case-based, in-person discussions with industry and academic experts in the field, will result in safer lab practices and positive changes in the attitudes and behaviors of students around safety.
As many of our students intern in industry labs where safety culture is significantly stronger, the Therapeutics Graduate Program (TGP) is ideally positioned to act as the cutting edge to improve safety culture at HMS. They are open to learning to prepare themselves for internships, and they rejoin their home labs empowered by industry experiences. We need the professors and industry group leaders of tomorrow to build safety into the culture of their future research groups.