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Minority Biomedical Science Researchers

Where Are They? Why Are They Important To NIH and To Our Nation?

As a part of an ongoing series highlighting the advancements made in providing education awareness about diversity and the industry of minority Biomedical scientists, we continue to be guided by the work of the NIH Working Group on Diversity in the Biomedical Research Workforce (WGDBRW). This working Group in 2012 established a number of recommendations to ensure an increase in the number of under represented minorities (URM) in the workforce pipeline, mentoring URM scientists, and strengthening the infrastructure of comparatively under-resourced institutions with a documented track record of producing and supporting URM scientist, and the potential role of bias according to the report.  In our next report, we will discuss specific recommendations made by the Working Group that has resulted in a comprehensive strategy to increase diversity in the biomedical research workforce.

We find that when it comes to health care, disease is much less important to us until the disease begins to impact on the quality of our own lives.  For example, if you are fortunate enough to be a person who has never been diagnosed with cancer, or have never had to endure cancer treatments, the chances of you being concerned about the science (study) of this disease is lessened significantly.   The same is as with the disease of diabetes, heart attacks, or one who has suffered from a stroke.  Until the healthcare costs start adding up, and until the bills from the hospital and your doctor start coming to your address, most of us are guilty of not responding to our health care needs with the right attention.

Our lives have become so busy, thanks in large part to technology pushing us to extend productivity beyond normal human limitations.  The reliance on our laptops, logarithms, and mobile devices has sharpened our focus around our work, but in many instances has also worked to withdraw us from the attention needed to our own healthcare.  So this week, OGTV has decided to take a dose of our own medicine on health care, slow down, and spend some time understanding the definition of, the function of, and most of all, the importance of having a sufficient supply of minority biomedical research scientists to our nation.  As we explore this topic, we do so with a focus on minority health, a look at diversity, and an examination of workforce issues, and opportunities in the field of bio medical researchers as job creators, and as an economic engine to healthcare innovation. Today's video capture was from our visit on the NIH campus and a interview discussion in front of the NIH clinic. Listen in and learn more about NIH and what happens at the clinical trials section of NIH. 

Biomedical Research Scientist.  What Is It?

Let’s first look at the definition of a biomedical scientist.  A biomedical scientist, or sometimes referred to as a biomedician, biomedical doctor, medical scientist, clinical scientist is a scientist trained in biology, particularly in the context of medicine, they perform chemical, hematological, immunologic, microscopic, and bacteriological diagnostic analyses on body fluids such as blood, urine, sputum, stool, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), peritoneal fluid, pericardial fluid, and synovial fluid, as well as other specimens, help to diagnose and manage disease through the analysis of blood, urine and other body fluids.

Why Are Minority Biomedical Researchers Important To NIH?

According to the Executive Summary from The Advisory Committee Working Group on Diversity in the Biomedical Research Workforce 2012, “the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has long recognized that achieving diversity in the biomedical and behavioral research workforce, and behavioral research workforce is critical to ensuring that the best and the brightest minds have the opportunity to contribute to the realization of our national research goals. According to the report, despite longstanding efforts from the NIH and other entities across the biomedical and behavioral research landscape to increase the number of scientists from underrepresented groups, diversity in biomedicine still falls short of mirroring that of the U.S. population.

Why Is Minority Biomedical Science Researchers Important To Our Nation?

 

OGTV, does not have all of the answers to this most important question, but we are seeking this week to engage with the experts on this subject, and become educated on the topic, so that our media outlet may empower our audiences on the realities and opportunities facing our minority scientific and medical community.   Biomedical research and medicine is aggressively moving towards the incorporation of genomic medicine (personalized medicine) where the genetic makeup of individuals will be incorporated into future medical solutions to address their healthcare problems. Now this makes sense to us; If I am a person with an illness, and I come from a certain ethnic and cultural origin, I would want to have more medical professionals understanding of my unique clinical background, and history and weighing in on the science of my illness, to better ensure that my unique genome analysis was being understood and symptoms properly treated by scientists and medical professionals who have a cultural awareness of the patient.

A second reason for the urgent need for minority biomedical researchers is that minorities in the United States are vastly becoming the majority population due to population diversity.  This population (minorities) currently is the most sick, and is contributing more intensely to health care costs that the country has to bear now, and into the future.   This productivity loss due to poor health, and negative economic impact on corporate America make science diversity in biomedical research critically important.   Minorities who will make up the majority of the underserved populations have to be a part of the bio medical research community in order to help reduce health disparities, and become an equitable part of a wellness society.  To this point, around NIH, and other health care communities, the term “health equity” versus health disparities has taken on a new value proposition to our economy.   This makes sense to us.  If minorities are becoming the dominant population, then our economy needs this population to be healthy, and productive. Imagine if we lacked cures for diseases most prevalent in minorities because of a lack of diversity in biomedical research

NIH’s Dr. Collins mid year 2012 charged the Working Group to provide concrete recommendations towards improving the recruitment and retention of under represented minorities (URM), people with disabilities, and people from disadvantaged backgrounds across the life span of a biomedical research career from graduate study to acquisition of tenure in an academic position or the equivalent in a non-academic setting. Hence, OGTV introduces NIH’s new EDI 365, and the creation of Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. Stay tuned to OGTV for more information on this new office.

 

 

Who Are They?  A New Leader At NIH Emerges Ito Lead Diversity .

 

OGTV is happy to report that based upon the NIH Advisory Committee’s report and recommendations January 30, 2014 “Director Frances Collins announced the appointed of Dr. Hannah Valentine, M.D., as the first permanent NIH Chief Office for Scientific Workforce Diversity.   Dr. Valentine was the Senior Associate Dean for Diversity and Leadership at the Stanford School of Medicine at Stanford University Medical Center.  In her new role, Dr. Valentine will be responsible for developing a comprehensive vision and strategies to diversify the scientific appliance pool and pipeline, to expand recruitment methods and retention strategies, and to help promote inclusiveness and equity throughout the biomedical research community There are racial and ethnic differences in the causes, expressions, and prevalence of various diseases. The relative importance of bias, culture, socioeconomic status, access to care, and environmental and genetic influences on the development of disease is an empirical question that, in most cases can be traced to a history of scientific research in the Black community.  This history, (The Tuskegee ) only helps to support the foundation for the importance of building a new future when it comes to Biomedical research and Diversity.

From our early research on this topic on Minority Biomedical Researchers, OGTV is beginning to realize that in order to effectively develop healthcare solutions and make this vulnerable minority population whole, an increase in the number of minority biomedical researchers must be accomplished, campaigns to sustain this increase must be advanced, and fully incorporated into science diversity and workforce development for the biomedical research enterprise of the United States

OGTV, www.opengovtv.com is looking forward to future interviews with NIH leadership, and other healthcare scientists, and experts on this subject as we seek to engage, educate, and empower.   If you have video, comments or blog interest on this topic, send to: kmoore@opengovtv.com or lkebe1@yahoo.com

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