Our commitment to diversity

Many medical and biotechnological advances have been made in healthcare and scientific research in recent years. However, there continues to be underrepresentation of U.S. ethnic and racial minorities in the biological and genome sciences. These underrepresented groups include Native Americans, African Americans, Hispanic/Latinos, Native Alaskans, and Native Hawaiians. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2008, out of 6,918 Ph.D. degrees conferred in the biological sciences, 3,690 were white recipients, 595 were Asian/Pacific Islanders, 253 were Latino, 241 were Black, and only 17 were Native American. (Note: The remaining 2,122 degrees were awarded to foreign students.)

The mission of Harvard Medical School (HMS) is, "To create and nurture a diverse community of the best people committed to leadership in alleviating human suffering caused by disease" (see also here). To assist HMS in achieving its mission, the Diversity Action Plan (DAP) of the CCV—a Center for Excellence in Genomic Science (CEGS) funded by the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI)—was established in 2010.

The NHGRI is committed to increasing the number of individuals from underrepresented minority groups who have the training to pursue careers in genome and ethical, legal and social implications (ELSI) research. The premise of embedding a DAP here is that, as genomic science has become critical to progress in biological science and medicine, and CEGS are the birthing grounds of new genomic science, programs that recruit and mentor minority students through CEGS research will not only help increase the diversity among genomics researchers, but will also increase representation of minority students in leading science research positions across the entirety of biological sciences and medicine.

To that end, the CCV offers a training program for underrepresented minority students and researchers to assist them in advancing in their career pathways in genome sciences. In collaboration with faculty and lab members, we intend to:

  1. Increase the diversity of those engaged in genome research.
  2. Expand opportunities in research training and career development for research investigators from populations affected by health disparities, including racial and ethnic minority populations.
  3. Increase the number of researchers conducting research focused on genome and health disparities.
  4. Develop ethical, legal, social implication (ELSI) research projects for underserved communities.

The primary objective of the CCV DAP Program is to bring outstanding underrepresented minority students into the research pipeline, and we have two goals for our DAP participants:

  1. DAP summer undergraduate interns will apply to graduate school programs in biological or biomedical sciences and proceed to an advanced degree (Ph.D., M.D., or M.D./Ph.D.).
  2. DAP post-docs will transition to a career in biological and biomedical sciences in academia, industry, or government.

For information on:

  • Our DAP summer undergraduate internship program, please click here.
  • Our DAP post-doc positions at the CCV, Or any other questions about the CCV DAP program, please contact Alex Hernandez-Siegel.