HMS Wins Grant to Boost Diversity

Harvard Medical School has recently received a $1.6 million federal grant to attract more minorities to the medical profession.

The prestigious grant, given to the school’s Minority Faculty Development Program (MFDP) by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, will fund minority junior faculty research, minority residency recruitment initiatives and train physicians in working with different cultural groups.

Since it was established in 1990, the MFDP has aimed to increase diversity at the residency and faculty level of the medical school by exposing minorities at every age—from grade school to graduate school—to science and medicine.

This effort includes a summer camp and mentorship programs.

MFDP also provides research stipends to current minority members of the faculty.

“Receiving the [federal] distinction for our minority faculty development and student pipeline programs is a significant milestone for the school’s efforts,” said Joan Reede, the medical school’s dean for diversity and community partnership.

According to medical school officials, MFDP received the grant because of its proven success in increasing diversity.

From 1997 to 2000 the number of black, Latino, and American Indian assistant professors at HMS rose from 31 to 51 and the number of minority instructors from 222 to 403.

“It’s remarkable what’s been accomplished thus far,” said Joan Berns, director of development and communications for MFDP.

Reede said diversity in medicine helps bridge health care disparities that exists between races and offers a richer experience to medical students and patients.

“Building a diverse physician and biomedical work force requires a partnership of many organizations, both local and national,” she said. “The results of these efforts will be better health care outcomes for racial and ethnic minorities in our community.”