January 2010

Promoting Diversity in Research

5. Establish partnerships with local organizations that hold health and science fairs where underrepresented groups are prevalent. These efforts go a long way to help establish trust of the medical research community.

Online Resources

Information on NIH/NIGMS diversity programs:

• NIH T32 training program: http://bit.ly/4GxEUQ
• Frequently asked questions about NIH T32 required recruitment and retention plan to enhance diversity: http://bit.ly/7AF80m
• NIGMS Research Supplements to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research: http://bit.ly/6PGZCe 
• NIGMS Minority Opportunities in Research Division programs:

Minority-oriented science student conferences:

• Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students: www.abrcms.org
• Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science: www.sacnas.org

Academic institutions with a high concentration of underrepresented students:

• Department of Education: For details on historically black colleges and universities, Hispanic-serving institutions and tribal colleges: www.ed.gov/index.jhtml 
• Appalachian College Association:
• Gallaudet University (for deaf and hearing impaired undergraduates):

6. Contact the office of disability services on your campus or at your company and ask officials for advice on how to make science more accessible.

7. Google “recruit student disabilities,” and tons of useful information will come up to help you reach out to these individuals.

8. Ensure that your Web sites, brochures and other marketing materials have welcoming and inclusive language. Do you include images of people from diverse backgrounds? Instead of saying “Persons with disabilities are welcome to apply,” try “People with disabilities are valued members of our institution.” In order to reach out to others, look inward and ask questions like: What is our message? Is our program/institution welcoming and accommodating? What is our track record? Who is delivering our message?

9. Update your business cards to include Braille; this is a great way to showcase an inclusionary spirit.

10. Publish your findings on diversity issues. Describe your approaches and conclusions regarding issues of diversity. Web sites like Diverse Issues in Higher Education (http://diverseeducation.com/home.html) or Inside Higher Ed (www.insidehighered.com) are useful sources to accomplish this.


1. Scott E. Page (2007) The Difference: How the Power of Diversity Creates Better Groups, Firms, Schools and Societies. Princeton, NJ and Oxford: Princeton University Press, , pp. 448.

Shawn R. Drew (DrewL@mail.nih.gov) is the Minority Access to Research Careers program director of the Division of Minority Opportunities in Research, program director of the biostatistics training grant program and chairwoman of the Committee to Maximize Representation at NIGMS.

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