By Christina Griffiths—
INDIANAPOLIS—A new $1.25 million grant will go toward providing new opportunities for graduate students typically underrepresented in biomedical science. The money is coming from the National Institutes of Health and is part of the Initiative for Maximizing Student Development (IMSD) Program.
“The goal of this program is to develop a more diverse group of scientists earning PhDs and create more inclusive training pathways and programs for students who are traditionally underrepresented in biomedical science programs,” said Tom Hurley, PhD, associate dean for graduate education and one of the principal investigators for this training grant. “This award is the culmination of a six-year effort to increase graduate student diversity and provide new mentored training opportunities.”
The grant will provide funding for 3 new students per year who will each have 2-year-long appointments, with 15 total students funded through the program. The students can be in any of 10 different PhD training programs offered at IU School of Medicine. A committee will be established to select students for the IMSD program.
“Students will experience a training program that will include scientific writing and a robust mentoring program,” said Gustavo Arrizabalaga, PhD, assistant dean for faculty affairs, professional development and diversity and the co-principal investigator. “They will still complete their core coursework in their chosen PhD program but be able to participate in additional training focused on writing, mentoring and data sciences thanks to this grant.”
Students will work in a faculty lab and receive mentoring from faculty who will complete specific training and workshops on how to best mentor the students.
“This is really about creating and maintaining supportive environments for the students to enter the biomedical science field and then be retained through graduation,” Arrizabalaga said. “We’re creating a pathway for future faculty hires and future industry experts to increase diversity both at IU School of Medicine and in the biomedical sciences field as a whole.”
The T32 grant is for 5 years and can be renewed for another 5 years, but the mentoring program and training components established by this grant will remain at the school and have a long-lasting impact on the diversity and inclusivity of our graduate programs.
“We are developing culturally relevant mentoring programs and peer mentoring groups within this program that we hope we can roll out to more areas in the school over time to be more inclusive across all of the training programs we offer,” Arrizabalaga said. “We also hope these programs will be worthwhile for students and encourage them to remain here in Indiana or at Indiana University.”
IU School of Medicine is the largest medical school in the U.S. and is annually ranked among the top medical schools in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. The school offers high-quality medical education, access to leading medical research and rich campus life in nine Indiana cities, including rural and urban locations consistently recognized for livability.