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Program Snapshot

This trans-NIH program is funded by the NIH Common Fund and managed by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS). The overarching goal of the program is to develop, implement, assess and disseminate innovative and effective approaches to engaging, training and mentoring students; enhancing faculty development; and strengthening institutional research training infrastructure to enhance the participation and persistence of individuals from underrepresented backgrounds in biomedical research careers.

In Detail

The NIH has long recognized that achieving diversity in the biomedical, behavioral, clinical, and social sciences (collectively termed “biomedical”) research workforce is critical for ensuring that the most creative minds have the opportunity to contribute to realizing our national research and health goals. The nation’s population continues to become increasingly diverse, and there is an urgent need to ensure that the scientific talent which is key to our nation’s success is nurtured, recognized, and supported across all demographic groups. The NIH expects efforts to diversify the workforce to lead to the recruitment of talented researchers from all groups, to improve the quality of the training environment, to balance and broaden the perspective in setting research priorities, to improve the ability to recruit subjects from diverse backgrounds into clinical research protocols, and to improve the Nation's capacity to address and eliminate health disparities.

In 2012, the NIH Advisory Committee to the Director (ACD) Working Group on Diversity in the Biomedical Research Workforce explored ways to improve the recruitment of individuals from diverse backgrounds underrepresented in biomedical research and prepare them for successful biomedical research careers. (These individuals include persons from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, people with disabilities, and people from disadvantaged backgrounds; see http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/showpub.cfm?TopID=2&SubID=27, and the latest NSF report on Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering, http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/women/). The Working Group provided recommendations, endorsed by the ACD, about how to develop and support individuals from diverse backgrounds across the lifespan of a biomedical research career. In response to these recommendations, the NIH established the Enhancing the Diversity of the NIH-Funded Workforce program.

This trans-NIH program is funded by the NIH Common Fund and managed by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS). The overarching goal of the program is to develop, implement, assess and disseminate innovative and effective approaches to engaging, training and mentoring students; enhancing faculty development; and strengthening institutional research training infrastructure to enhance the participation and persistence of individuals from underrepresented backgrounds in biomedical research careers.

The unique aspects of this program include:

  • A focus on three levels of impact: student, faculty and institutional.
  • The integration of social science research and psychosocial interventions into the process of training and mentoring students and faculty.
  • Rigorous assessment and evaluation of the training and mentoring interventions implemented across the program.

Through the implementation and evaluation of effective approaches to improve training and mentoring across the consortium, this program aims to have a significant impact on the participation and persistence of individuals from diverse backgrounds in the biomedical research pipeline, as well as on transforming the culture and efficacy of biomedical research training and mentoring nationwide.

The program, also referred to as the Diversity Program Consortium (DPC), consists of three integrated initiatives: Building Infrastructure Leading to Diversity (BUILD), the National Research Mentoring Network (NRMN) and the Coordination and Evaluation Center (CEC).

Main Inter-connected Programs

The Diversity Program Consortium is composed of three main inter-connected programs:

Building Infrastructure Leading to Diversity (BUILD)

This initiative consists of a set of 10 linked awards granted to undergraduate institutions, each of which developed quantitative approaches intended to determine the most effective ways to engage and retain students from diverse backgrounds in biomedical research, and to prepare students to become future contributors to the NIH-funded research enterprise. BUILD awards differ from other NIH-training grants in that they aim to simultaneously achieve impact at the student, faculty and institutional levels, and include structured evaluations during the life of the grant. Through efforts coordinated by the CEC, grantee institutions work together to propose new ways to engage their unique student populations and address the multidimensional factors affecting student success. Disseminating the effective interventions and strategies that the sites develop is intended to contribute to broader transformational impact on biomedical research.

National Research Mentoring Network (NRMN)

NRMN is developing a national network of mentors and mentees from all biomedical disciplines relevant to the NIH mission to provide mentorship, professional development, mentor/mentee training, networking and resources to individuals from the undergraduate to early career faculty levels. NRMN’s initiatives include a web-based mentor networking platform, in-person conferences and online training sessions, grantsmanship workshops and in-depth one-on-one mentoring sessions. This variety in programming is intended to offer mentoring opportunities to scientists throughout their education and career. For more information about NRMN, including upcoming events and opportunities, please visit their website.

Coordination and Evaluation Center (CEC)

The CEC, based at the University of California, Los Angeles, is responsible for coordinating and evaluating the outcomes of DPC activities. Coordination efforts include: supporting consortium-wide working groups, helping develop and plan publications, managing the DPC website and organizing the DPC annual meeting. The CEC’s evaluation work includes designing a detailed evaluation plan to assess the outcomes and impact of BUILD and NRMN’s training and mentoring approaches based on consortium hallmarks of success and logic models. As needed, the CEC offers support to Consortium sites to ensure progress of data collection and to address any issues that arise. The data collected are indicative of program outcomes and will have implications for recruiting, training and mentoring of diverse groups nationwide. The CEC will also coordinate dissemination of effective approaches to the broader biomedical research training community.

New Additions for the Second Phase of the DPC

Two new additions for the second phase of the DPC are:

Sponsored Programs Administration Development (SPAD) Program

The objective of this program is to increase the productivity of sponsored programs' activities to enhance biomedical research and/or research training. The new initiative will focus on establishing Offices of Sponsored Programs (OSPs) or enhancing the services of existing OSPs or similar entities at domestic institutions of higher learning.

DPC Dissemination and Translation Awards (DPC DaTA)

This initiative provides an opportunity for institutions not currently part of the DPC to apply for funding to take a rigorous scientific approach to understanding the effectiveness of a biomedical research training, mentoring, or research capacity building intervention by employing DPC experimental methods.

Contacts

For more information about the Diversity Program Consortium, contact:

Dr. Alison Gammie
DPC Program Leader
Division of Training, Workforce Development, and Diversity
National Institute of General Medical Sciences
National Institutes of Health
45 Center Drive MSC 6200
Bethesda, MD 20892-6200

This page last reviewed on November 14, 2023