National Advisory Council on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NCAA) Working Group on Diversity and Health Disparities in the Biomedical Workforce

Mission and Charge

The National Advisory Council on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NCAA) Working Group on Diversity and Health Disparities in the Biomedical Workforce was established on May 15, 2018. The goal is to expand the pool of diverse alcohol researchers, as well as the number of investigators studying how to reduce alcohol-related health disparities. The NCAA Working Group on Diversity is charged with exploring and making recommendations to the NIAAA Director on how to better identify, recruit, train, mentor, and retain diverse health disparities researchers in the alcohol field.

 

Working Group Reports to NCAA

 

NIAAA Diversity Workgroup Report Minutes Summary

The first meeting of the NCAA Working Group on Diversity was held in NIAAA, Bethesda MD on October 2, 2018. The following Members and NIAAA Staff were present:

NCAA Working Group Members

Carmen Albizu-Garcia, M.D.

Daniel J. Calac, M.D. (Chairperson)

Suzanne de la Monte, M.D.

Rueben Gonzales, Ph.D.

Patricia E. Molina, M.D., Ph.D.

Laura Elena O’Dell, Ph.D.

Seth J. Schwartz, Ph.D.

Kenneth James Sher, Ph.D.

Michael Finley Summers, Ph.D.

Robert E. Taylor, M.D., Ph.D.

 

NCAA Designated Federal Official (DFO):

Abraham P. Bautista, Ph.D.

 

NIAAA Members Present:

George F. Koob, Ph.D., NIAAA Director, Chair NCAA

Patricia Powell, Ph.D., NIAAA Deputy Director

Judith Arroyo, Ph.D.

Elizabeth Powell, Ph.D.

 

NIAAA Observers

Ms. Belinda Morin

Ranga Srinivas, Ph.D.

 

The first NCAA Working Group report of the October 2, 2018 meeting was presented to the parent committee, the National Advisory Council on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism at the 150th Council Meeting on February 7, 2019. Summary below was taken from the Council approved  minutes of the 150th NCAA meeting.

Dr. Koob introduced Daniel Calac, M.D., Chair of the NCAA Working Group on Diversity and Health Disparities in the Biomedical Workforce, who updated Council on the Working Group’s progress. Dr. Calac reviewed Dr. Koob’s charge to the Group: to support programs that guide young people into the alcohol research field and help retain them, while recognizing differences across settings. He reviewed key aspects of the Working Group’s discussions, including a focus on mentors rather than mentees; conceptualizing an outfacing website, such as the National Research Mentoring Network (NRMN)’s site; developing an online toolkit for mentors and mentees; and promoting an acceptable mentor brand. Dr. Calac also briefly reviewed exemplary programs to support a diverse pool of biomedical researchers at the undergraduate, graduate, postdoctoral, investigator, and institutional levels.

 

Dr. Calac presented the Workgroup’s initial recommendations: Focus on mentoring, rather than mentees; track the outcome data of NIH diversity supplements; identify and share data with high visibility partners like the National Science Foundation (NSF) and Building Infrastructure Leading to Diversity (BUILD) initiative from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS); brand mentoring initiatives; use social media to disseminate information about what a good mentor is and how to mentor; develop a distinguished lecture concept model; establish models to incentivize mentors; and promote NIAAA activities at the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS), Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) or other minority undergraduate research conferences to grantees and their students

 

Discussion: Susan Smith, Ph.D., asked about the emphasis on mentoring rather than mentees. Dr. Calac responded that most initiatives have been 90 percent mentee-oriented and only 10 percent mentor-oriented. The Working Group’s conversation focused on how to support mentors who usually work on a volunteer basis without any incentive, such as points toward tenure. Dr Koob interjected that the field gives awards for great mentors at national meetings, but he acknowledged this may not happen at the university level. Dr. Sanyal noted that the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) does a lot of work on mentoring and wondered if there is a way to leverage what is being done at NIH. Every Clinical and Translational Sciences Awards (CTSA) program, for example, is developing a mentorship program. Dr. Koob emphasized that the goal is to use mentoring as a way to increase diversity in the workforce. Dr. Sanyal replied that CTSA is doing that. Dr. Smith observed that the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s molecular sciences program emphasized mentoring women and minorities, and the program developed helpful resources. Patricia Powell, Ph.D., commented that she was impressed by mentoring support approaches that went beyond just teaching how to mentor, to changing how the faculty looked at mentees, resulting in a complete culture shift at the institution. Dr. Koob reiterated that this initiative is of great interest to NIAAA and encouraged Council members to provide input to him.

 

NCAA Diversity Working Group Report (PDF – 4.35MB)

 

NCAA Working Group Roster

CHAIRPERSON(S)

CALAC, DANIEL J., MD

CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER

INTERNAL MEDICINE /PEDIATRICS INDIAN HEALTH COUNCIL, INC.

VALLEY CENTER, CA 92069-5338

 

MEMBERS

ALBIZU-GARCIA, CARMEN E., MD

PROFESSOR

CENTER FOR EVALUATION AND SOCIOMEDICAL RESEARCH HEALTH SYSTEMS EVALUATION AND RESEARCH DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH SERVICES ADMINISTRATION UNIVERSITY OF PUERTO RICO

SAN JUAN, PR 00936-5067

 

DE LA MONTE, SUZANNE M., MD

PROFESSOR

DEPARTMENT OF PATHOLOGY SCHOOL OF MEDICINE BROWN UNIVERSITY PROVIDENCE, RI 02903

 

GONZALES, RUEBEN A., PHD

PROFESSOR

DEPARTMENT OF PHARMACOLOGY AND TOXICOLOGY UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS, AUSTIN

AUSTIN, TX 78712

 

MOLINA, PATRICIA E., PHD, MD

RICHARD ASHMAN PH.D.

PROFESSOR AND DEPARTMENT HEAD

DEPARTMENT OF PHYSIOLOGY

LOUISIANA STATE UNIVERSITY HEALTH SCIENCES CENTER

NEW ORLEANS, LA 70112

 

O'DELL, LAURA ELENA, PHD

PROFESSOR

DEPARTMENT OF PSYCHOLOGY UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS, EL PASO

EL PASO, TX 79968

 

SCHWARTZ, SETH J., PHD

PROFESSOR

DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH SCIENCES LEONARD M MILLER SCHOOL OF MEDICINE UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI, FL 33136

 

SHER, KENNETH JAMES, PHD

CURATORS' DISTINGUISHED PROFESSOR DEPARTMENT OF PSYCHOLOGICAL SCIENCES COLLEGE OF ARTS AND SCIENCE

UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI

COLUMBIA, MO 65211-2500

 

SUMMERS, MICHAEL FINLEY, PHD

DISTINGUISHED PROFESSOR

HOWARD HUGHES MEDICAL INSTITUTE DEPARTMENT OF CHEMISTRY AND BIOCHEMISTRY UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND, BALTIMORE COUNTY

BALTIMORE, MD 21250

 

TAYLOR, ROBERT E., MD, PHD

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR DEPARTMENT OF PHARMACOLOGY COLLEGE OF MEDICINE

HOWARD UNIVERSITY

WASHINGTON, DC 20009

 

EXECUTIVE SECRETARY

BAUTISTA, ABRAHAM P., PHD

EXECUTIVE SECRETARY, NATIONAL ADVISORY COUNCIL NATIONAL INSTITUTE ON ALCOHOL ABUSE & ALCOHOLISM NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH

BETHESDA, MD 20892