Meharry President Dr. Wayne J. Riley Appointed to “Blue Ribbon” Federal Committee to Evaluate the Diversity of the Nation’s Biomedical Science Workforce

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A new study in Science found African Americans were 10 percent less likely than white researchers to receive research grant awards from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Dr. Riley

Wayne J. Riley, M.D., MPH, MBA, MACP, President & Chief Executive Officer of Meharry Medical College, has been appointed by National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director Francis Collins, M.D., Ph.D. to serve as a member of an advisory committee formed recently to provide recommendations that will lead to increased diversity in the biomedical research workforce.

Advisory Committee to the Director (ACD) Diversity in Biomedical Research Working Group was formed in response to a NIH-commissioned study that found that African-American applicants were 10 percent less likely than white applicants to be awarded research program grants from NIH.

The study was released last week in an article by the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s journal, Science.

Committee members will provide concrete recommendations to the NIH director on ways to improve the retention of underrepresented minorities, persons with disabilities and persons from disadvantaged backgrounds.

The committee will focus on five key points to address inadequate levels of diversity in the biomedical research workforce pipeline: (1) entry into graduate degree programs; (2) the transition from graduate degree to post-doctoral fellowship; (3) the appointment from a post-doctoral position to the first, independent scientific position; (4) the award of the first, independent research grant from NIH or equivalent in industry and (5) award of tenure in an academic position or equivalent in an industrial setting.

The committee will produce interim recommendations by December and final recommendations by June 2012. Members will collaborate and coordinate with the ACD Biomedical Workforce Working Group, the NIH Diversity Task Force and the NIH Women in Biomedical Research Careers Working Group.

Committee members are listed below.

Advisory Committee to the Director Diversity in Biomedical Research Working Group

Reed Tuckson, M.D., Executive Vice President and Chief of Medical Affairs, UnitedHealth Group, co-chair
John Ruffin, Ph.D., Director, National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, co-chair
Lawrence Tabak, D.D.S., Ph.D., Principal Deputy Director National Institutes of Health, co-chair
Ann Bonham, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer, Association of American Medical Colleges
Jordan Cohen, M.D., President Emeritus, Association of American Medical Colleges
José Florez, M.D., Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Gary Gibbons, M.D., Director, Cardiovascular Research Institute and Chair, Department of Physiology, Morehouse School of Medicine
Renee Jenkins, M.D., Chair, Department of Pediatrics and Child Health, Howard University
Tuajuanda Jordan, Ph.D., Dean, College of Arts and Sciences, Lewis and Clark College
Wayne J. Riley, M.D., MPH, MBA, MACP, President & Chief Executive Officer, Meharry Medical College; Chair, National Advisory Council on Minority Health & Health Disparities, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services; Chair, Board of Directors, Association of Minority Health Professions Schools
Samuel Silverstein, M.D., John C. Dalton Professor of Physiology & Cellular Biophysics, and Professor of Medicine, Columbia University Medical Center
Dana Yasu Takagi, Ph.D., Professor of Sociology, University of California, Santa Cruz
Maria Teresa Velez, Ph.D., Associate Dean of the Graduate College, Professor in Psychology, University of Arizona
M. Roy Wilson, M.D., M.S., Chairman, Board of Trustees, Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science
Keith Yamamoto, Ph.D., Executive Vice Dean, School of Medicine, Professor Departments of Cellular/Molecular Pharmacology and Biochemistry/Biophysics, University of California, San Francisco
Clyde Yancy, M.D., Magerstadt Professor and Chief, Division of Medicine-Cardiology, Northwestern Memorial Hospital and Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

About Meharry Medical College: Meharry Medical College, founded in 1876, is the nation’s largest private, independent historically black academic health center dedicated to educating minority and other health professionals. True to its heritage, it is a United Methodist Church affiliated institution. The College is particularly well known for its uniquely nurturing, highly effective educational programs; emerging preeminence in health disparities research; culturally sensitive, evidence-based health services and significant contribution to the diversity of the nation’s health professions workforce. Diverse Issues in Higher Education’s ranking of institutions annually lists Meharry as a leading national educator of African Americans with M.D. and D.D.S. degrees and Ph.D. degrees in the biomedical sciences. Visit to learn more.


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