A study on attrition of potential underrepresented minority faculty

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There is a persistent shortage of underrepresented minority (URM) faculty who are involved in basic biomedical research at medical schools.  A group from Vanderbilt University looked at national data sources, including surveys from the National Science Foundation, to examine the entire training pathway of potential URM candidates to identify the points of greatest loss.

In the analysis, the authors find that URM and non-URM trainees are equally likely to transition into doctoral programs, to receive their doctoral degree, and to secure a postdoctoral position during training. However, the authors did find noticeable attrition of potential URM faculty candidates during undergraduate education and in the transition from postdoctoral fellowship to tenure-track faculty in the basic sciences at medical schools.   Looking at these results, the authors suggest that future interventions to diversify faculty in the basic sciences focus on these two stages of the educational pathway where we are losing the most potential candidates.

Survey of checkpoints along the pathway to diverse biomedical research faculty
Authors: Lindsay C. Meyers, Abigail M. Brown, Liane Moneta-Koehler, Roger Chalkley
Published: January 16, 2018, https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0190606

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