Curriculum or Training Modules to Promote Safe and Inclusive Biomedical Research Training Environments

2022

Listed below are the details of the projects funded under NOT-GM-22-011:

Title: Pharmacology and Molecular Sciences Training Program: Enhancing Inclusivity Through Universal Design for Learning in Graduate Courses
Principal Investigator: 
Caren Freel Meyers, John Hopkins University
The aim of this supplement to the Pharmacology and Molecular Sciences T32 training program is to accelerate efforts to promote inclusive learning in biomedical graduate courses at Johns Hopkins University (JHU), through implementation of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) approaches. There is institutional support for students who need accommodations in courses. However, not all students make these requests, and such accommodations do not extend to other students who may also benefit from them. UDL is a framework to guide the design of learning goals, as well as course materials, delivery and assessments, in a way that accommodates learners from different backgrounds and with diverse learning preferences. Designing courses to provide content in an accessible way as a default for all students increases inclusivity, reducing the need for special accommodations and avoiding singling-out students with documented disabilities. We strive for such inclusive learning environments, however, competing demands on faculty create real barriers to implementing UDL best practices into courses, which we intend to address through this supplement. To maximize the initial impact of this project at JHU, we will implement inclusive practices in graduate courses which are team-taught by faculty from multiple departments and taken by students in other training programs. The objectives of the project are to promote awareness in many JHU programs of how UDL enhances inclusivity, and to provide direct support in revising course materials and delivery. In collaboration with an Instructional Designer, we will engage course directors, faculty instructors and TAs in a targeted, structured way to lower the barrier to UDL implementation by: 1) educating on UDL rationale and concepts, and available resources, 2) providing specific guidance on course design and delivery, and 3) helping course directors and instructors with transition of course materials and delivery to accessible formats. The proposed activities are a key catalyst to surmount initial barriers of transforming courses and creating the platform to educate faculty and TAs and impart skills that they can build on. Participating faculty and TAs will serve as ambassadors within their departments and programs. Together with an established educational platform and institutional support, this will impact many T32 programs at JHU in a sustainable way to ensure UDL best practices in all courses.

2021

Listed below are the details of the projects funded under NOT-GM-21-026:

Title: IMSD at Stony Brook University: Maximizing Excellence in Research for Graduate Education -- Fostering Inclusive Research Scientist Training (FIRST)
Principal Investigator:
John Gergen, State University New York Stony Brook
The Fostering Inclusive Research Scientist Training (FIRST) Workshop series (supplement to the NIH-funded Stony Brook University Initiative for Maximizing Student Development: Maximizing Excellence in Research for Graduate Education) is designed to better equip faculty and administrators in biomedical science departments and graduate programs to foster safe and inclusive training environments for underrepresented (UR) trainees in the biomedical sciences. The workshop series will focus mitigating the effects of the “chilly climate”, the phenomenon where UR individuals feel unwelcome in an environment due to factors such as numerical underrepresentation and perceptions of unconscious and/or overt bias. The three main areas that addressed by the workshop series are anti-racism; unconscious bias; and allyship and advocacy - three topics recognized as areas of need by biomedical science trainees at Stony Brook University. The audience for the FIRST Workshop series is faculty and staff with important roles in biomedical science graduate training programs at Stony Brook University. The seven-session FIRST Workshop series will employ a data-driven and evidence based approach to develop curriculum and will employ the EPIC (exposure, persuasion, identification, and commitment) model of active learning (Aragon et al., 2016), utilizing an incremental approach to both successfully convey the importance of the topics and to motivate participants to adopt the practices covered in the material. FIRST Workshop participants will also have the opportunity to develop a specific activity that addresses a workshop topic of their choice and present their plan to all of the workshop participants to obtain suggestions for improvements, discuss their plans for implementation and celebrate the work of all of the participants. The FIRST Workshop will better prepare faculty and staff to create safe and inclusive training environments that diminish the chilly climate and encourage UR trainees to pursue biomedical science career paths.

Title: Restorative practice in repairing harm and promoting safe and inclusive practices in the laboratory.
Principal Investigator:
Karl Ansel, University of California, San Francisco
Trainees who are underrepresented in the biomedical research enterprise report negative marginalizing experiences that lead them to leave academic research environments. Many such experiences are not addressed by existing reporting mechanisms since they do not rise to the level of policy violation, even though such incidents cause great harm and disrupt learning, health, and safety. Simultaneously there is a significant lack of information around the types and prevalence of bias and diversity-themed incidents to inform the development of interventions that would prevent harm and support trainees, and there is no mechanism for repairing this harm. We propose an institutional collaboration between Student Life Services, the Office of Diversity and Outreach, the Graduate Division, Student Health and Counseling Services, and eight NIGMS funded training grant programs to pilot a (1) centralized mechanism for trainees to share their everyday experiences of bias; (2) the use of restorative justice approaches in addressing, repairing, and preventing racial harm in the basic science training environment, and (3) the development of a program of training to prepare future practicing psychologists to more effectively meet the needs of graduate student trainees. The proposed program will serve as a pilot for efforts to develop an institutionalized Bias Response program for the wider doctoral and postgrad population at UCSF, and will provide a roadmap for other institutions seeking to promote safe and inclusive biomedical research training environments.

Title: Training Modules at Wayne State University to Promote Safe and Inclusive Environments
Principal Investigators:
Stephen Lanier (contact), Christine Chow, Michele Cote, Wayne State University
Wayne State University (WSU) is a pre-eminent, public, urban research university with a demonstrated commitment to excellence grounded in its active engagement in initiatives that have enhanced diversity, achieved increased equity, and started to build a culture of inclusion for its students and community. The National Institutes of Health recognize this commitment through the support of institution-wide initiatives such as the Wayne State Initiative for Maximizing Student Development (IMSD), now in its 43rd year, and more recently, ReBUILDetroit, a collaboration for Building Infrastructure Leading to Diversity (BUILD) in the biomedical sciences in the Detroit Metropolitan Area. Despite excellent infrastructure, resources, and our decades old demonstrated and active commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), these frameworks have not been as successful in supporting the graduate student experience, limiting the university’s ability to reach its full potential in research and scholarship in the biomedical sciences. Located in the heart of one of the most diverse cities in the USA, Detroit, Michigan, WSU is uniquely positioned and committed to the restorative and sustainable reconstruction of its structures and a shift in its culture to recruit, retain, and support the success of graduate students from marginalized groups who are committed to DEI. In alignment with the overall mission of WSU, the university is currently creating and implementing a model for inclusive excellence that will be piloted in the biomedical sciences. The leaders of this initiative, the Deans of the Schools of Medicine and Graduate School along with the Vice President for Research, as well as the broader university community are committed to a restorative approach to the achievement of equity and the creation of an environment in which the talent of all individuals with the ability and desire to achieve can reach its full potential. The integration of restorative practices and equity-mindedness into inclusive excellence was developed by this team to best serve the unique needs of WSU. Restorative practices are grounded in restorative justice and help to reduce bullying, improve human behavior, strengthen civil society, provide effective leadership, restore relationships, and repair harm. In many of our nation’s institutions, this approach which can transform the experience of all constituencies and create sustained structures, policies, and procedures that are foundational for inclusive excellence, must be grounded in the restoration of the institutions and their people to a sense of belonging, hence restorative inclusive excellence (RIE). This supplement will be utilized to develop the curriculum needed for institutional transformation to support RIE, specifically in graduate education, through a series of online training modules and workshops.

2020

Listed below are the details of the projects funded under NOT-GM-20-018:

Title: San Diego IRACDA: Professors for the Future
Principal Investigator:
Joann Trejo, University of California, San Diego
Creating a culture of respect, trust and safety in the academic environment is imperative for protecting trainees and learners, allowing them to learn and work in an environment conducive to the pursuit of excellence, free of harassment and discrimination. To address this challenge and in response to the NIGMS commitment to safety from harassment and other inappropriate behavior, we will develop three new training modules that will help faculty to 1- develop self-awareness, empathy, and respectful communication, 2- equip faculty with skills to manage and resolve conflict and 3 - provide faculty with tools to build and lead effective teams. Collectively, the training includes Module 1: Developing Ourselves and Empowering Others, Module 2: Foundations of Respectful Workplace Communication and Managing Conflict, Module 3: Building and Leading Effective Teams in the Workplace and form the “Creating a Culture of Respect in the Academic Environment (CCRAE)” Program.

Title: Creating an Inclusive and Respectful Environment for Biomedical Research at Colorado State University
Principal Investigator:
Carol Wilusz, Juan Lucas Argueso, Jean M Peccoud, Daniel Benjamin Sloan, Colorado State University
Even though huge strides have been made in improving recruitment, retention and advancement of women and minorities in STEM fields, gender, racial and other biases persist, damaging research integrity and resulting in a completely unacceptable loss of talent. Moreover, the advancement of URM and female PhD students to post-doctoral and faculty positions continues to lag behind that of white males. Improving the climate and culture for women and minorities requires that individuals acknowledge that implicit and explicit biases persist in biomedical research environments and acquire the ability to recognize incidents of bias and intervene or prevent them. To achieve this, we propose to adapt and implement a program (ADVANCE-Geo) that has been successful in improving the culture for female geoscientists. A climate survey will be conducted to identify issues specific to biomedical researchers at Colorado State University. Faculty will be trained at CSU by ADVANCE-Geo PIs and then charged with engaging other faculty, staff and trainees in discussions surrounding climate and culture and bystander intervention training. T32 preceptors will create Codes of Conduct for their labs and departments. Training materials specific to biomedical research will be developed and disseminated. Outcomes of the project will be shared at internal and national conferences.

Title: The Molecular Basis of Cell Function
Principal Investigator:
David Bilder, Elcin Unal, University Of California Berkeley
The Aim of this supplement is to implement robust, widespread, and sustainable evidence-based mentor training within the Molecular Basis of Cell Function (MCF) training faculty, to both enhance academic outcomes and to promote a safe and inclusive environment for trainees. Intentional training of faculty on issues of diversity and equity, as well as prevention of discriminatory harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, citizenship status, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, age, disability, marital status, are essential to creating a safe and inclusive training environment. To address this central gap in our training program, we will partner with the Center for Improvement of Mentored Experiences in Research (CIMER) based at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The mentor training initiative proposed in this application will incorporate four components. In Aim 1A, we will train all MCF faculty in a set of core competencies that have been demonstrated to advance student outcomes. In Aim 1B, we will build local capacity to provide training to newly-arrived faculty through future years, as well as to maintain training of previously trained faculty through continuing education. In Aim 1C, we will supplement general mentor training with enhanced content in issues of inclusion and prevention of discriminatory harassment, and in Aim 1D we will augment existing mechanisms for accountability of mentors. These objectives will establish a high-quality and consistent mentoring environment within the MCF faculty, and provide a springboard for expansion to faculty within the other T32 programs in the UC Berkeley biomedical sciences.

Title: Maximizing Access to Research Careers Undergraduate - Student Training in Academic Research (MARC U-STAR)
Principal Investigator:
Raymond Esquerra, Frank T Bayliss, San Francisco State University
We propose to design strategies to increase mental health and awareness for SF State students that are in the MARC, RISE, and Bridges to the Doctorate programs. We will increase faculty skills at supporting mental health wellness of diverse students. The goal of this proposal is to design and implement workshops for students and faculty that will promote mental health and wellness in STEM Undergraduate and MS researchers bound for PhD training programs. The workshops will help future PhD students navigate their mental health needs and help prepare them for health challenges as they transition to PhD programs. We plan to offer these workshops to other MARC/RISE/BRIDGES programs nationwide, and at SACNAS and ABRCMS. We will develop a pedagogical template that we will share with other institutions and we will also advise them on implementation. We also propose to test the efficacy of peer mental health mentors to improve mental health and wellness outcomes of SF State PhD-bound students.

Title: IPREP Supplemental: Increasing safety and inclusion of the IUPUI training environment
Principal Investigator:
Rafael Bahamonde, Janice S Blum, Indiana Univ-Purdue Univ At Indianapolis
This supplement project addresses the need to create safer and more inclusive research training environments for NIH-supported projects through a novel curriculum that includes modules on bias/harassment/discrimination based on gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, ability, citizenship, and race/ethnicity. The curriculum has the following learning objectives: (1) increase trainee skills to become (self-) advocates when navigating unsafe and unwelcoming environments; and (2) improve the institutional training environment by enhancing mentor skills for recognizing and preventing bias, harassment, and discriminatory events. Curriculum modules, presented separately to trainees and faculty/staff, consist initially of a podcast using narrative to describe an unwelcomed event to help trainees and mentors understand the impact of bias and discrimination in the training environment and ways to mitigate it. After listening to the podcast, participants will engage in in-class activities, which include a case study, discussion, and role play. Through these participatory sessions, participants will develop the tools necessary to confidently communicate about bias and discrimination. The curriculum will be evaluated using a mixed-method design to obtain qualitative and quantitative formative and summative evidence that demonstrates how well the proposed strategies and interventions promote safety and inclusion in the training environment. The most effective components will be institutionalized for use throughout the IUPUI community and made available on the IPREP website for external use.

Title: Administrative Supplement to the CSUSM Bridges to the Baccalaureate
Principal Investigator:
Denise Garcia, Tracey Brown, California State University San Marcos
The CSUSM Bridges to the Baccalaureate (CSUSMB2B) program supports the NIH/NIGMS goal of increasing the diversity of the biomedical workforce by increasing the successful transfer rates of under-represented (UR) groups from community colleges to 4-year institutions. The CSUSMB2B program, located in north San Diego County California, includes the partner institutions of California State University San Marcos (CSUSM), Palomar College and MiraCosta College. This Bridges Supplement Proposal aims to directly address issues of culture, diversity, and equity for our student trainees and the faculty who mentor them by developing two training workshops. These workshops will create opportunities to build participants’ capacity and skills to co-create safe and inclusive research environments and experiences. Each workshop will provide training that, while overlapping in theoretical frameworks, is specific to student and faculty roles in the research and mentoring relationship. By having common threads and concepts, we hope to create shared learning opportunities, values, and support authentic conversations between student trainees and faculty mentors. The specific activities include: 1) creating a cross-divisional and cross-campus team for the development and delivery of formal training curriculum, 2) developing a student trainee workshop, and 3) developing a faculty mentor workshop. Furthermore, these workshops will be institutionalized with campus partners to be made available to all interested STEM faculty and students.

Title: UNC Initiative for Maximizing Student Development
Principal Investigator:
Jeanette Gowen Cook, Univ Of North Carolina Chapel Hill
The long-term goal of the Initiative for Maximizing Student Development at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC IMSD) is to contribute to diversifying the leadership of biomedical science. We propose to develop, implement, evaluate, and broadly disseminate original training materials to expand cultural education and improve the training climate for life science researchers at our institution. We will develop a training curriculum and materials to increase cultural awareness and foster relevant and impactful discussions among trainees, staff, and mentors. Novel curricula connecting these stakeholders will create a unified sense of understanding and a vocabulary for navigating difficult situations as they arise. We will partner with a professional drama-based training organization to create original case study materials for presentation and dissemination. The performances will depict common cross-cultural interactions involving trainees followed by facilitated community discussions.

Title: Enabling Access to Cutting-Edge Biomedical and Behavioral Science
Principal Investigator:
Margarita Dubocovich, State University Of New York At Buffalo
The University of Buffalo’s overall goal is to catalyze and create a safe and inclusive research environment to promote success in biomedical, behavioral and bioscience research within each School of the UB community. To achieve this goal the environment needs to be conducive for learning, where mutual respect among community members representing multiple and diverse backgrounds (i.e., race, gender, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, disability) work together to foster an inclusive research environment. Specifically, we will create an institution-wide informational video to highlight the values and expectations of UB and Individual Schools in maintaining a safe and inclusive research environment through strong statements by leadership, education, iterative evaluation and dissemination of core values. Students and faculty will be educated on how to anonymously report incidences of mistreatment, harassment and discrimination. Students and faculty will be assessed on specific acquired knowledge regarding resources, policies and laws pertaining to diversity, inclusion, discrimination and harassment, and perceptions regarding the presence of a safe and inclusive research learning climate in each School through the creation of specific evaluation instruments. These instruments will be used to assess the effectiveness of training programs and to monitor progress in each School towards creating an inclusive learning and research environment.

Title: Cornell Initiative for Maximizing Student Development
Principal Investigator:
Avery August, Cornell University
The Cornell IMSD aims to increase the number of both underrepresented minority students and disabled students in biological and biomedical science graduate programs at Cornell, while also preparing them for successful future careers. Over the past 2 years of the programs’ existence, we have realized that students are seeking opportunities to move from undergraduate focused learning to graduate focused creativity. In particular, they are interested in the process of “ideation”, a creative process of generating, developing, and communicating new ideas. In addition, our students are interested in how they can continue to build on Cornell’s efforts to promote an inclusive research environment. Utilizing key elements of design thinking applied to STEM research, we will provide Cornell-IMSD Scholars with the tools to: Empathize (Understanding the human needs involved); Design (Re-framing and defining the problem in human-centric ways); Ideate (Creating many ideas in ideation sessions), Prototype (Adopting a hands-on approach in prototyping) and Test & Implement (Developing a prototype/solution to the problem). This novel interactive short course will be conducted over the summer (8 weeks, with follow up through the academic year) to comprehensively address all aspects of ideation. In order to challenge the students and the process, Cornell IMSD scholars will be split into two teams that will work on the same research topic related to diversity and inclusion that is of relevance to biomedical science research, infrastructure, and accessibility. This course will provide Scholars with the tools to identify new ways to enhance diversity and inclusion in biomedical science research, infrastructure, and accessibility. At the same time, they will learn how to apply their current or future research to solve real-life challenges, while also embracing failure as a learning and growth experience from which to build. At the end of the course, Scholars will be able to foster collaborative research community-building, innovation, and intellectual innovation in emerging thematic spaces; encourage bold and disruptive research thinking across disciplines and develop roadmaps for future research design and implications, proposal development and submission. This novel Ideation course will continue to build on Cornell’s efforts to promote an inclusive research environment, while helping students identify new ways to apply their current or future research to solve real-life challenges that support needed to enhance cultural responsiveness, create a real-life applications of bench research, support creativity in the research setting, along with further promoting diversity and inclusion through innovation in academia and the STEM workforce.

Title: Genetics and Genomics PhD Training Grant
Principal Investigator:
Scott Kennedy, Harvard Medical School
The T32 Program in Genetics and Genomics at Harvard Medical School trains 6 student per year to prepare them for careers advancing our understanding of the fundamental mechanisms of hereditary disease, and genomic methodologies. This is a proposal for a supplement that will allow us to develop new programming that advances diversity of our students, and promotes a sense of inclusion across the program. The proposal is designed to develop and test programs that can, if successful, become part of the orientation activities and coursework for all of the PhD students in life sciences at Harvard Medical School. To do so we will 1) develop novel orientation events that will establish an inclusive culture and community, and will involve both incoming students and more senior members of the community 2) work with Diversity Fellows from the School of Education to initiate new programming focused on sustaining inclusive learning environments in the lab, activities that can be incorporated into the ongoing Conduct of Science course, and 3) host a Symposium on Bias in Genetics and Genomics Research, to demonstrate the importance of diversity and inclusion in our science, as well as in our new scientists. These activities are designed to enhance the training program in genetics and genomics and extend the impact of these efforts to the broader HMS community and scientific community.