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Transforming the understanding
and treatment of mental illnesses.

Mental Health Research Dissertation Grant to Enhance Workforce Diversity

Presenter:

Mark Chavez, Ph.D.
Division of Translational Research
Office of Research Training and Career Development

Goal:

This concept would provide continued support for a long-standing and successful program for doctoral students in the dissertation stage of graduate school. The program aims to continue enhancing the diversity of the mental health research workforce by providing dissertation level research support to individuals who are underrepresented in the biomedical, clinical, behavioral, and social sciences (as defined by NIH) who are proposing projects consistent with the NIMH’s mission and research priorities.

Rationale:

NIH and NIMH are committed to enhancing diversity in the NIH-funded biomedical, behavioral, clinical, and social sciences workforce (see NOT-OD-20-031). Research shows that diverse teams working together and capitalizing on innovative ideas and distinct perspectives outperform homogeneous teams. Scientists and trainees from diverse backgrounds and life experiences bring different perspectives, creativity, and individual enterprise to address complex scientific problems. There are many benefits that flow from a diverse NIH/NIMH-supported scientific workforce, including fostering scientific innovation; enhancing global competitiveness; contributing to robust learning environments; advancing the likelihood that underserved or health disparity populations participate in and benefit from health research; enhancing public trust.

This initiative seeks to enhance the workforce diversity of graduate student researchers conducting NIMH-relevant research by supporting them to complete the dissertation stage of their research careers. The dissertation phase of graduate school falls at a particularly critical juncture in doctoral training and is a period during which institutional support may decline or terminate altogether. In addition, this initiative includes funds not readily or sufficiently available in other predoctoral awards, which limit support to stipends, tuition and fees, and institutional allowances.