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Representatives from the Diversity Program Consortium (DPC) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) came together for the fourth Annual Grantees Conference from October 22 to 24, 2018, in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Established by the NIH in 2014, the DPC is made up of the National Research Mentoring Network (NRMN), the Coordination and Evaluation Center (CEC) at UCLA and 10 universities comprising the Building Infrastructure Leading to Diversity (BUILD) initiative. DPC members meet annually to celebrate their progress, share lessons learned and set strategic goals.
A primary focus of the 2018 conference was sharing initial outcomes and intervention methods in training, mentoring and research capacity building, as well as ideas for future dissemination.
“It was great to hear such spirited presentations and rich discussions of the many exciting interventions and updates from each DPC awardee,” the CEC Principal Investigator, Keith Norris, M.D., Ph.D., said.
In addition to core event programming, participants had opportunities to experience New Orleans culture and visit the Xavier University of Louisiana campus where they learned about Project Pathways, Xavier’s BUILD program.
This year, attendees included members of the NIH Advisory Committee to the Director (ACD) Working Group on Diversity, DPC Subcommittee. The subcommittee consists of a panel of experts who provide input on the DPC’s evaluation process and areas of focus. This was the first opportunity for the Subcommittee members to meet representatives from the DPC sites in-person. Because the DPC programs are set up as a series of experiments, this feedback is vital to the iterative process of designing and conducting interventions.
Hannah Valantine, M.D., the NIH Chief Officer for Scientific Workforce Diversity, gave the welcoming remarks, along with the DPC Executive Steering Committee chairs, Lourdes Echegoyen, Ph.D., from the University of Texas El Paso BUILDing SCHOLARS program, and Alison Gammie, Ph.D., from the NIH.
In addition to the informative plenary sessions, meeting highlights included an evening meet-and-greet poster session and a keynote speech by Christine Ortiz, Ph.D. Ortiz is currently a professor of Materials Science Education at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the founder of Station1, a nonprofit postsecondary educational institution based on inclusion and equity.
“The keynote presentation highlighted elements of a systematic change approach that can be implemented when establishing an inclusive biomedical research environment at an institution of higher learning,” Anissa Brown, Ph.D., BUILD Program Officer said. “Receiving this information directly from an expert on the front line provided a realistic perspective convincing me that DPC efforts have the potential to become a trend of the research training environments.”
The conference was organized by the DPC Annual Conference Planning Committee on behalf of the DPC Executive Steering Committee.
The consortium will meet again in 2019 to kick off the second phase of the DPC. Follow the NIH DPC on Twitter and Facebook for more updates about the consortium.
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