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Underrepresented researchers face more challenges than their well-represented counterparts. Perseverance and consistency of interest are associated with career success in well-represented physicians. Therefore, we examined associations of perseverance and consistency of interest with Clinical Research Appraisal Inventory (CRAI), science identity, and other factors related to career success among underrepresented post-doctoral fellows and early-career faculty.
This is a cross-sectional analysis of data collected from September to October 2020 among 224 underrepresented early-career researchers at 25 academic medical centers in the Building Up Trial. We used linear regression to test associations of perseverance and consistency of interest scores with CRAI, science identity, and effort/reward imbalance (ERI) scores.
The cohort is 80% female, 33% non-Hispanic Black, and 34% Hispanic. The median perseverance and consistency of interest scores were 3.8 (25th–75th percentile: 3.7,4.2) and 3.7 (25th–75th percentile: 3.2, 4.0), respectively. Higher perseverance was associated with a higher CRAI score (β = 0.82; 95% CI = 0.30, 1.33, p = 0.002) and science identity (β = 0.44; 95% CI = 0.19, 0.68, p = 0.001). Higher consistency of interest was associated with a higher CRAI score (β = 0.60; 95% CI = 0.23, 0.96, p = 0.001) and higher science identity score (β = 0.20; 95% CI = 0.03, 0.36, p = 0.02), while lower consistency of interest was associated with imbalance favoring effort (β = –0.22; 95% CI = –0.33, –0.11, p = 0.001).
We found that perseverance and consistency of interest are related to CRAI and science identity, indicating that these factors may positively influence one’s decision to stay in research.
Social unrest tied to racism negatively impacted half of NIH-funded extramural researchers underrepresented (UR) in science. UR early-career scientists encounter more challenges in their research careers, but the impact of social unrest due to systemic racism in this group is unclear. We used mixed methods to describe the impact of social unrest due to systemic racism on mentoring relationships, research, and psychological well-being in UR post-doctoral fellows and early-career faculty.
This is a cross-sectional analysis of data collected in September 2021–January 2022 from 144 UR early-career researchers from 25 academic medical centers in the Building Up Trial. The primary outcomes were agreement on five-point Likert scales with social unrest impact statements (e.g., “I experienced psychological distress due to events of social unrest regarding systemic racism”). Thematic analysis was conducted on responses to one open-ended question assessing how social unrest regarding systemic racism affected participants.
Most participants were female (80%), non-Hispanic Black (35%), or Hispanic (40%). Over half of participants (57%) experienced psychological distress as a result of social unrest due to systemic racism. Participants described direct and indirect discrimination and isolation from other persons of color at their institutions. Twice as many participants felt their mentoring relationships were positively (21%) versus negatively (11%) impacted by social unrest due to systemic racism.
Experiences with racial bias and discrimination impact the career and well-being of UR early-career researchers. Mentoring relationships and institutional support play an important role in buffering the negative impact of racial injustice for this population.
Underrepresented minorities have higher attrition from the professoriate and have experienced greater negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The purpose of this study was to compare the impact of COVID-19 on the lives of 196 early-career physician-scientists versus PhD researchers who are underrepresented in biomedical research. Participants in the Building Up study answered questions on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their personal and professional lives, and a mixed-methods approach was used to conduct the analysis. While most participants experienced increases in overall stress (72% of PhD researchers vs 76% of physician-scientists), physician-scientists reported that increased clinical demands, research delays, and the potential to expose family members to SARS-CoV-2 caused psychological distress, specifically. PhD researchers, more than physician-scientists, reported increased productivity (27% vs 9%), schedule flexibilities (49% vs 25%), and more quality time with friends and family (40% vs 24%). Future studies should consider assessing the effectiveness of programs addressing COVID-19-related challenges experienced by PhD researchers and physician-scientists, particularly those from underrepresented backgrounds.
The Building Up Trial is a cluster-randomized trial that aims to address the issue of the leaky career pathway for underrepresented (UR) faculty in biomedical fields. Regulatory approval and recruitment for the Building Up Trial took place during the COVID-19 pandemic and the anti-racism movement. The pandemic and anti-racism movement personally and professionally impacted the target population and made recruitment challenging at both the institution and participant level. The target sample size for this study was 208 postdoctoral fellows or early-career faculty across 26 predominately white institutions. Challenges and adaptations are described. The Building Up Trial was delayed by 3 months. In total, 225 participants from 26 institutions were enrolled. Participants are predominately female (80%), Hispanic/Latinx (34%) or non-Hispanic/Latinx Black (33%), and early-career faculty (53%). At the institution level, obtaining Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval through a single Institutional Review Board (sIRB) posed the biggest challenge. We adapted to COVID-19-related challenges through simplifying sIRB forms, modifying study practices, and increasing communication with institutions. Recruiting UR postdoctoral fellows and faculty during the COVID-19 pandemic and anti-racism movement was challenging but not impossible. Studies should be prepared to modify study and recruitment policies to overcome additional barriers posed by the pandemics.
The need to diversify the biomedical research workforce is well documented. The importance of fostering the careers of fledgling underrepresented background (URB) biomedical researchers is evident in light of the national and local scarcity of URB scientists in biomedical research. The Career Education and Enhancement for Health Care Research Diversity (CEED) program at the University of Pittsburgh Institute for Clinical Research Education (ICRE) was designed to promote career success and help seal the “leaky pipeline” for URB researchers. In this study, we aimed to quantify CEED’s effect on several key outcomes by comparing CEED Scholars to a matched set of URB ICRE trainees not enrolled in CEED using data collected over 10 years.
We collected survey data on CEED Scholars from 2007 to 2017 and created a matched set of URB trainees not enrolled in CEED using propensity score matching in a 1:1 ratio. Poisson regression was used to compare the rate of publications between CEED and non-CEED URB trainees after adjusting for baseline number of publications.
CEED has 45 graduates. Seventy-six percent are women, 78% are non-White, and 33% are Hispanic/Latino. Twenty-four CEED Scholars were matched to non-CEED URB trainees. Compared to matched URB trainees, CEED graduates had more peer-reviewed publications (p=0.0261) and were more likely to be an assistant professor (p=0.0145).
Programs that support URB researchers can help expand and diversify the biomedical research workforce. CEED has been successful despite the challenges of a small demographic pool.
OBJECTIVES/SPECIFIC AIMS: The need to diversify the biomedical research workforce is well documented. The Career Education and Enhancement for Health Care Research Diversity (CEED) program at the University of Pittsburgh Institute for Clinical Research Education (ICRE) promotes success and helps seal the “leaky pipeline” for under-represented background (URB) biomedical researchers with a purposefully designed program consisting of a monthly seminar series, multilevel mentoring, targeted coursework, and networking. METHODS/STUDY POPULATION: Over 10 program years, we collected survey data on characteristics of CEED Scholars, such as race, ethnicity, and current position. We created a matched set of URB trainees not enrolled in CEED during that time using propensity score matching in a 1:1 ratio. RESULTS/ANTICIPATED RESULTS: Since 2007, CEED has graduated 45 Scholars. Seventy-six percent have been women, 78% have been non-White, and 33% have been Hispanic/Latino. Scholars include 20 M.D.s and 25 Ph.D.s. Twenty-eight CEED Scholars were matched to non-CEED URB students. Compared with matched URB students, CEED graduates had a higher mean number of peer-reviewed publications (9.25 vs. 5.89; p<0.0001) were more likely to hold an assistant professor position (54% vs. 14%; p=0.004) and be in the tenure stream (32% vs. 7%; p=0.04), respectively. There were no differences in Career Development Awards (p=0.42) or Research Project Grants (p=0.24). DISCUSSION/SIGNIFICANCE OF IMPACT: Programs that support URB researchers can help expand and diversify the biomedical research workforce. CEED has been successful despite the challenges of a small demographic pool. Further efforts are needed to assist URB researchers to obtain grant awards.
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