I. IntroductionII. General Principles Supported by the Working GroupIII. Recommendations of the Working Group to NIGMS and NIHAppendices
Message from the NIGMS Director
NIGMS is deeply committed to developing and maintaining a strong, vital scientific workforce whose diversity reflects that of our nation. We approach this essential goal in many ways, including through the programs of our Division of Minority Opportunities in Research (MORE). This division focuses on increasing the representation of groups that have traditionally been underrepresented in the biomedical research workforce, offering a range of programs targeted to various stages of the research career pathway.
On August 18-19, 2005, a working group of the National Advisory General Medical Sciences Council convened to review the original mandates of the MORE division, explore the rationales and objectives of existing programs, and make recommendations to the advisory council about existing and future activities. The meeting, the first step in an ongoing process, featured lively discussions centered on the urgency of increasing diversity in the scientific workforce, particularly in academic positions. I was pleased to attend almost all of this workshop, and I thank the members of the working group as well as members of the NIGMS and NIH staff who participated for their creative efforts. I look forward to continued discussions on these important issues with the working group, other members of the council, and NIH and NIGMS staff.
The working group’s initial report was presented to the advisory council at its January 26, 2006 meeting. The group's final report appears below. I welcome your feedback on this report or related topics.
Jeremy M. Berg, Ph.D.
The National Advisory General Medical Sciences (NAGMS) Council MORE Division Working Group was formed to provide guidance to the NAGMS Council with regard to the programs of the MORE (Minority Opportunities in Research) Division. The group met in Bethesda on Aug 18-19th 2005 and May 17, 2006, and via teleconference on April 26, 2006 (see Appendix A for names of participants). The Working Group was asked to review the original mandates, the current rationales, and the objectives of the existing MORE programs. They were also asked to make recommendations to the NAGMS Council in terms of existing programs and future initiatives.
The committee was asked to focus on four current MORE programs:
Appendix B has short descriptions and 2005 expenditures for each program. To aid in this evaluation, the co-organizers requested specific information about each of the four MORE programs. These requests included: the number of funded institutions/individuals; number of applicants per round of funding; the amount of funding awarded per grant; assessment criteria (both for awarding funds and evaluation of program success); and, total funding allocated per program per year. This information was not made available to the working group although the committee was provided with summary analyses and information in the form of presentations by the NIGMS and MORE staff who attended the public portions of the meeting. Thus, it was not possible for the committee to do even a superficial assessment of the efficacy of these MORE programs and indeed institute staff requested that the committee evaluate general aspects of these programs, but not the details of the programs themselves. As a result, the committee focused on global assessments based on individual committee member knowledge and the summary information available to us. We also brainstormed about new programs to help MORE meet its mandate.
The working group did not have the time or resources to do in-depth analyses of either the existing MORE programs or for development of ideas for new programs. Here we present a non-exhaustive list of programs and initiatives that we believe would help NIGMS meet the general principles set out in the first part of this report. These ideas, as well as additional approaches, should be discussed and developed by NIGMS staff with the input of appropriate individuals such as those who served on this working group. Further, some of the ideas address issues that go beyond the scope of the NIGMS, and therefore should be addressed by all institutes and/or the NIH Director’s office.
There is insufficient capacity to meet the demand for undergraduate research placements among qualified minority students, even at Research-1 universities. Thus, NIGMS must do more to promote undergraduate research opportunities for students. It is the opinion of the working group that NIGMS action to promote increased undergraduate access to research opportunities can be and should be done immediately.
Appendix A: Roster of MORE Working Group (*member of NAGMS council)
Virginia Zakian, Ph.D. (co-chair)
*Professor of Molecular BiologyDepartment of Molecular Biology
Princeton UniversityPrinceton, NJ firstname.lastname@example.org
Valerie Wilson, Ph.D. (co-chair)Executive Director, Leadership AllianceClinical Professor of Community HealthBrown University Medical School
15 Sayles Hall, Box 1963Providence, RI 02912401-863-9892Valerie_Wilson@brown.edu
Carlos G. Gutierrez, Ph.D. (not present at meeting; contributed thoughts in writing)Professor of ChemistryDepartment of Chemistry and Biochemistry
California State University, Los Angeles5151 State University Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90032
Julius H. Jackson, Ph.D.Professor of MicrobiologyDepartment of MicrobiologyMichigan State University6178 BPSEast Lansing, MI email@example.com
Sandra Harris-Hooker, Ph.D.Associate Dean, Research DevelopmentOffice of Research Development
Morehouse School of Medicine
720 Westview Drive, SW
Atlanta, GA 30310-1495
Jeffrey T. Mason, Ph.D.
*Chairman, Department of Biophysics
Armed Forces Institute of PathologyRockville, MD firstname.lastname@example.org
Richard Morimoto, Ph.D.
*Dean, Graduate SchoolProfessor of Molecular BiologyDepartment of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Cell BiologyNorthwestern University2153 Sheridan RdEvanston, IL email@example.com
Reba N. Page, Ph.D.Professor of EducationGraduate School of EducationUniversity of California at RiversideSproul Hall 2128Riverside, CA firstname.lastname@example.org
Robert S. Pozos, Ph.D.ProfessorDepartment of BiologySan Diego State University5500 Campanille Drive, Room 130 North Life SciencesSan Diego, CA email@example.com
Margaret C. Werner-Washburne, Ph.D.Professor of BiologyDepartment of Biology
University of New MexicoCastetter Hall 200Albuquerque, NM firstname.lastname@example.org
James H. Wyche, Ph.D.Vice Provost for Academic AffairsProfessor of Biochemistry and Molecular BiologyUniversity of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center1000 Statton Young Blvd, #221Oklahoma City, OK 73117405-271-2332Jamesemail@example.com
Appendix B: brief descriptions of NIGMS programs for minorities mentioned in this report
MORE budget, FY2005 $157.691 million
Connect With Us: