LOS ANGELES, Calif., Sep. 11, 2019—The National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) Diversity Program Consortium (DPC) held its fifth annual conference from July 29-30, 2019, in Bethesda, Maryland. Members of this groundbreaking initiative traveled from all over the country to celebrate the completion of their first five-year phase, and to kick off the beginning of the second five years of the project.
Established by the NIH in 2014, the DPC is a multi-million-dollar experimental diversity initiative involving over a dozen higher education institutions spanning from Alaska to Maryland. The ten Building Infrastructure Leading to Diversity (BUILD) sites, the Coordination and Evaluation Center and the National Research Mentoring Network (NRMN) have spent the last five years developing and implementing innovative interventions at the student, faculty and institutional levels, to advance the DPC goal of finding more effective approaches to research training and mentoring.
The conference, titled “Launching DPC Phase II: The DPC Experiment Continues – Expanding on Collective Accomplishments of the Consortium,” began with a keynote speech by Dr. Hannah Valantine, NIH Chief Officer for Scientific Workforce Diversity. Informed by her insights from a high-level view of diversity initiatives in biomedical research, Valantine framed the consortium in context of general trends in diversity.
"A lot of our previous work has focused on the individual, and although much necessary and important to continue, we need to be thinking about how we create these institutional systems for change," Valantine said. "As a model, we need to have programs or systems that promote transparency and accountability with systematic review, transparency in hiring and promotion policies of institutions, transparency in collecting the data - and not having it just sit on a shelf but publishing it."
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