This project is a part of a five-year commitment to address the urgent need for more scientists from under-represented backgrounds. It is a part of the National Research Mentoring Network (NRMN), supported by a $19.2 million grant awarded by the National Institutes of Health. NRMN’s members recently gathered at UNTHSC to establish the groundwork for this nationwide effort.
As Special Assistant to the Provost for Diversity and International Programs, Jamboor Vishwanatha explained, “NRMNet’s goal is to help menthes identify career goals by providing them with a user-friendly and efficient communication tool, addressing the necessity of increased diversity in the biomedical field.”
The portal will support not only mentoring but also networking, professional development, and mentor-mentee matching. In addition, it will help recruit several mentees to each career stage as well as culturally-responsive mentors.
Within the United States, the number of research science doctorates awarded each year is progressively declining. Additionally, the number of faculty members belonging to misrepresented groups in biomedical sciences has remained frozen for about thirty years, explained Dr. Vishwanatha.
A strong and consistent mentorship can make a big difference in helping a scientist achieve a successful career as a researcher. Through mentorship, grant-writing skills can improve and, consequently, the chances of receiving funding for research projects increase. This relationship between menthes and mentors is linked to productivity, career satisfaction, and self-efficacy.
“Unfortunately, studies have reported that mentees from under-represented minorities typically receive less mentoring than their non-minority peers,” Dr. Vishwanatha noted in a press release. “The NIH initiative to diversify the biomedical workforce and the resulting NRMN program is an attempt to provide networking, mentoring and professional development activities to diversify the biomedical workforce.”
The National Research Mentoring Network is shared by the Boston College, the University of Minnesota School of Medicine, the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and the UNTHSC.