Strategies to Increase Diversity and Representation in Research and Medical Careers [HRA Members Meeting, New York, Fall 2022]

The DEI session at the Spring 2022 HRA members meeting focused on programs that organizations and institutions have used to promote mentoring and career development of minority scholars in academia, government, and nonprofit organizations. We are following this up by looking at institutions that have implemented programs that have trained and advanced minority students and scholars at the high school/undergraduate, graduate/medical school, and postdoctoral/faculty level. This session will feature a speaker from academia that has created a benchmark program for training postdoctoral fellows to get faculty positions and representatives from two HRA member organizations. These speakers will talk about the steps needed to implement these programs, how their programs were funded, how many scholars have been supported, how many have advanced, best practices learned, and things that HRA member organizations should consider if they are seeking to not just provide funding for minority researchers, but to also equip them with the tools to also excel and advance. The outputs may be something that is scalable to organizations of different sizes and will help member organizations understand what is needed to promote/enhance/strengthen their DEI programs and initiatives.

Eugene Manley, Jr, PhD
Director, STEM Workforce Initiatives | LUNGevity

Donathan Brown, PhD
Assistant Provost & Assistant Vice President | Associate Professor
Division of Diversity and Inclusion | Office of Faculty Diversity and Recruitment
Rochester Institute of Technology
Dr. Donathan Brown is the inaugural Assistant Provost and Assistant Vice President for Faculty Diversity and Recruitment. In addition, Dr. Brown is an Associate Professor, former U.S. Fulbright Professor, recently appointed member of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) climate justice working group, and is a US Fulbright Scholar Alumni Ambassador. On the administrative side, Dr. Brown leads the Office of Faculty Diversity and Recruitment. In this capacity, Dr. Brown provides institutional leadership for the effective recruitment and advancement of a diverse and excellent faculty body. He places particular emphasis on recruiting historically underrepresented faculty and providing strategic guidance to support retention-related efforts that include professional development, mentoring, academic diversity and equity, work-life policies and other climate issues. On the academic side, Dr. Brown is an expert on race and public policy, especially as it pertains to African Americans and Latinos. His research has materialized in both books and articles spanning topics ranging from voting rights, immigration reform and civil rights. Dr. Brown has provided expert commentary for many major media outlets, ranging from Forbes to the Huffington Post, along with multiple media outlets in Canada and Slovenia. In addition, he is the co-founder of the human resources consulting firm, Adirondack Diversity Solutions, LLC.

Sindy Escobar Alvarez, PhD
Medical Research Program Director | Doris Duke Charitable Foundation
Sindy Escobar Alvarez is the program director for medical research. In this role, she designs and manages grant programs to support clinical research that advances the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of human diseases. Through her work, she aims to promote inclusive, equitable and effective grant making.

Bringing her research experience in industry and academia, Escobar Alvarez previously served as senior program officer for medical research at the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, supporting evaluation efforts to inform program strategy, building relationships with the scientific community, and managing processes to identify awardees of the foundation’s programs to support sickle cell disease research and the retention of early-career physician scientists. Throughout her career, Escobar Alvarez has shared her scientific contributions and insight about the clinical research workforce through presentations at national meetings and in peer-reviewed publications.

Escobar Alvarez currently serves as chair of the board of directors of the Health Research Alliance, a coalition of non-profit funders of biomedical research, and is a past member of both the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute’s Advisory Panel on Rare Diseases and Vivli’s external advisory committee. She is a graduate of the Pharmacology Department at the Weill Cornell Medicine Graduate School of Medical Sciences, through which she trained at the Sloan Kettering Institute of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

Natalie Holloway
Senior Program Manager, Professional Development | American Society of Clinical Oncology