The Office of Training and Diversity (OTD) serves the Division of Intramural Research (DIR) trainees in Maryland and Montana at the Rocky Mountain Labatories (RML), including Postdoctoral, Visiting and Clinical Fellows;Medical Students;Postbaccalaureates;Graduate Students;and Summer Interns. Outreach and recruitment are also key endeavors, with the goal of recruiting outstanding, competitive candidates for DIR training positions. Wendy J. Fibison, Ph.D., is the Associate Director, and the office has a staff of four. An exciting initiative continued for a second year, the Fellows Advisory Committee comprised of graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, with new members. At monthly meetings, the members make recommendations regarding enhancing the learning environment in DIR, explore new programs to support the trainees'career development, and discuss issues related to the DIR experience. As one example of their accomplishments, their feedback impacted positively on the BSC review process. This committee plans the annual fellows retreat, determining the theme, format, and agenda;inviting speakers;and hosting attendees at the retreat. The NIAID Outstanding Mentor Award, developed in 2009 to recognize the many mentors at NIAID who are dedicated to sharing knowledge, inspiring, and instilling confidence in fellows, was awarded again this year. A committee of fellows, working with Wendy J. Fibison, followed a blind selection process to identify the winning nominee among a large pool of strong nominations. Two mentors were selected this year: Rick Fairhurst, M.D., Ph.D., Laboratory of Malaria and Vector Research;and Kanta Subbarao, M.D., Laboratory of Infectious Diseases. To further assist senior postdoctoral fellows in finding employment at the end of their fellowship, OTD subscribed to Bio Career Center, a consortium of leading life sciences institutions delivering expanded career options for PhDs and MDs. OTD continued to manage three annual programs: NIAID's Annual Fellows Retreat;Intramural NIAID Research Opportunities (INRO);and the Summer Internship Program in Biomedical Research. The Fifth Annual Fellows Retreat was held at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. Harvey Fineberg, M.D., Ph.D., President, Institute of Medicine, delivered the keynote address. Breakout sessions included the topics: Careers Away from the Bench;Academic Search Committees;Teaching Science in the Digital Age;and New Frontiers in Scientific Publishing. Guest speakers participated in the popular Mentors Lunch. Plenary sessions included a presentation by Julie, K. Pfeiffer, Ph.D., University of Texas;and a panel on """"""""How to be Successful in Science"""""""" with Sabra Klein, Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University, and Jonathan Yewdell, M.D., Ph.D., Laboratory of Viral Diseases, NIAID. NIAID's Outstanding Mentor Award was presented. A reception concluded the retreat. Intramural NIAID Research Opportunities (INRO) is NIAID's centerpiece for outreach to populations underrepresented in biomedical research. Following a nationwide search, 20 talented students were selected from 171 applications, to attend the annual 4-day program of scientific lectures, lab tours and interviews for potential training positions. The visiting students also interacted informally with researchers and current trainees. Five former trainees at a variety of career stages, returned to attend INRO and their input was valuable to the INRO visiting students, current trainees, and mentors alike. INRO 2011 was the ninth year of the program, and was notable for the percentage of students who accepted training positions. By the end of the fiscal year, over fifty percent of the INRO participants had returned to NIAID for training as a postdoc, postbac or summer intern. Since INRO was started in 2003, 180 outstanding students have participated in the program. To assist strong applicants who were not selected for INRO 2011 in finding training positions, the """"""""Share-the-Wealth Program"""""""" created last year, was expanded. For those applicants who had given permission, their applications were shared with Training Directors in other NIH institutes. The Marketing Database, a resource developed by OTD, was revised and expanded. With nearly 10,000 entries, this is a valuable recruitment tool for DIR's training and scientific positions. It's used for the INRO program, as well as for promoting NIAID and NIH open positions, and to announce OTD's webinars and other special programs. Wendy Fibison, Ph.D., Kim Green, Ph.D., and Tamara Lewis-Johnson, M.P.H., developed a first of its kind workshop honoring the NIAID women highlighted in Women in Science at the NIH, 2007-2008. The honorees spoke on Lessons in Leadership to NIAID's postdoctoral and clinical fellows and graduate students. A reception followed, providing an opportunity for the trainees to have informal discussions with these accomplished women. The Rocky Mountain Fellows Organization sponsored three seminars for the postdocs at RML. The 2011 Summer Internship Program was fully subscribed, with students coming from around the country to work in DIR labs for 8 to 12 weeks. Nearly one-half of the interns presented their research at the annual NIH Summer Intern Poster Day. For the twelvth consecutive year, under the leadership of Elizabeth Fischer and Anita Mora, RML scientists teamed with local Montana middle schools to present an Introduction to Research program for seventh and eighth grade students. The objectives are to broaden the student definition of a scientist by providing diverse role models with varying interests and skills;and to encourage interests in becoming scientifically literate citizens whether they choose a career in traditional sciences or in fields ranging from politics, to journalism, to business. The B.R.A.S.S. (Biomedical Research After-School Scholars) program was developed as part of a continuing effort by lab scientists to communicate the nature of scientific research and the sorts of experiments conducted by scientists at RML. This years program consisted of six lab sessions covering the topics of cell biology, immunology and allergies, infectious diseases, forensics, environmental microbiology and animals in research. Each student performed experiments designed to increase his or her understanding of the topic, as well as the nature of scientific research. This year 29 RML scientists volunteered their time and shared their research experience with 38 students. To date the BRASS program has involved 300+ volunteers and reached more 700 Montana students. Many past BRASS participants have gone on to pursue careers in science because of their experience in this program. The first Native American Youth Academy was held in July on the RML campus, with support from NIH leadership and several other Institutes. Several ongoing OTD projects which support the Institute's diversity mission were continued this year: the Sponsorship Program;the Brown Bag Lunch Series;and the Tracking Project. Competitive trainees from populations underrepresented in biomedical research were again sponsored by OTD. This program was fully subscribed in 2011, with 25 trainees receiving OTD stipends and health insurance. Eleven former trainees hold positions within NIH and FDA. To foster a network of current and former trainees, a LinkedIn group was created by Wendy J. Fibison, adding a digital approach to providing former trainees information about NIAID opportunities and resources, and to enlist them as ambassadors for OTD programmatic outreach. NIAID is well positioned to meet its diversity goals in the near future by recruiting these young researchers back to the Institute as research positions become available.

Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Zip Code