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Neurobiology and Behavior Seminar
Tuesday, March 10th, 2020
11 AM, Dale Melbourne Herklotz Conference Center, Center for Neurobiology of Learning and Memory (Building 506 on the campus map)
Anne M. Etgen, PhD
Albert Einstein College of Medicine
“How Can We Enhance the Diversity of the Neuroscience Research Enterprise?”
Abstract: Enhancing the diversity of the biological sciences research workforce has long been a priority of federal funding agencies (e.g., NIH, NSF), and the Society for Neuroscience includes increasing diversity of the neuroscience research enterprise in its mission statement. However, growth in the participation of women and underrepresented minorities (URMs) in neuroscience and biomedical sciences overall continues to lag. There is some evidence that efforts to increase the diversity of the “pipeline” have paid off. Data taken from the NSF Survey of Earned Doctorates and published late in 2016 (Gibbs et al., eLife 2016;5e21393) showed that the annual number of URM Ph.D. graduates in NIH-relevant disciplines grew nearly 10-fold from 1980–2013. In contrast, the number of URM assistant professors in medical school basic science departments grew only 2.6-fold. Moreover, the percentage of URMs hired as assistant professors in basic science departments in US medical schools over the same period changed from 3.9% in 1980 to only 5.8% in 2014. Women also drop out of the academic track at higher rates and progress to senior rank and leadership positions at lower rates than men. These numbers are not attributable to differences in the proportion of women URM Ph.D.s who transition from graduate school to postdoctoral training. This seminar will address the science of diversity, factors that contribute to institutional failure to diversify the biomedical and biological sciences research enterprise, and evidence-based strategies for mitigating those factors.