The Scientific Approach

By Clifton A. Poodry It's time to apply our scientific thinking to designing diversity programs. Here's how. Despite our scientific training, when we think about ways to build a more diverse biomedical research workforce, we may base our ideas on sentiments and preconceptions rather than the best evidence. One way to avoid this is to approa

Clifton A. Poodry
Nov 1, 2006


It's time to apply our scientific thinking to designing diversity programs. Here's how.



Despite our scientific training, when we think about ways to build a more diverse biomedical research workforce, we may base our ideas on sentiments and preconceptions rather than the best evidence. One way to avoid this is to approach the challenge of increasing diversity as a scientific problem.

The first step is to understand the scope of underrepresentation, which is discussed elsewhere in this supplement and in National Science Foundation reports. What's clear in that data is that achieving proportional representation among new PhDs in the sciences would require us to produce about 1,700 additional minority PhDs per year, and even at that rate it would take many years to achieve parity in the workforce.

National Institutes of Health undergraduate training programs at minority-serving institutions provide a total of 800 slots for juniors and seniors and should...

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