Volume 1-Spring 1996
Minority Students Attend Biomedical Careers Conference
Photos: Jeff Thiebauth
A coalition of Harvard scientists, physicians and administrators participated in the third annual Biomedical Science Careers Conference on Saturday, February 3, 1996. Over 350 minority students from New England area high schools, colleges, medical, graduate and professional schools attended the one day conference. The Biomedical Science Careers Project (BSCP), sponsor of the event, is a non-profit organization comprised of academic institutions, hospitals, biotechnology companies, trade associations and businesses, dedicated to establishing academic and career connections between minority students and biomedical institutions throughout New England.
Minorities continuing to be underrepresented in health care and in the sciences. At the undergraduate and medical/graduate levels, minorities represent a small percentage of those training for the sciences, although HMS has been very successful in the recruitment of minority medical students. Joan Reede, President of BSCP and assistant dean for faculty development and diversity says, "I see this conference as a prototype and model of how to bring a medical and scientific community together around the critical issues of the changing scientific workforce of the future."
From 8 am until 4 pm students attended workshops on such topics as career strategies, getting into college, medical school (led by Ernesto Gonzalez of MGH), residency training and beyond (led by William Silen, Faculty Dean for Faculty Development and Diversity), postdoctoral training and beyond (led by John Potts of MGH), professional associations (led by Edgar Milford of BWH) and funding and research opportunities (led by Ken Bridges of BWH). Over 114 faculty and staff, representing HMS and most of its affiliates, all New England medical schools, as well as many area colleges and high schools participated as advisors and panelists.
A plenary session, "Changes In Biomedical Science: What's In the Future" was moderated by Kenneth Edelin (Prof of OB/GYN at BU Medical Center) with panelists from Abt Associates, Genzyme Corporation, NIH and Dr. H. Richard Nesson of Partners HealthCare. A keynote address was given by Dr. Woodrow A. Myers, Jr., HMS class of í77, Director of Health Care Management for Ford Motor Company in Michigan on "Why Have A Career In Biomedicine?"
Mentoring of StudentsDemonstrating the true importance of mentoring, this conference continued the work of Faculty Development and Diversity by bringing together students and professionals from a myriad of areas in biomedicine. A special feature of the conference was the individual matching of each student to an advisor with similar career interests. Advisor-advisee relationships often continue for months and years after the one day conference. Since the first BSCP conference in 1992, student participants have entered medical schools, professional schools and colleges--all at the urging of their BSCP advisors. William Silen notes, "It's important to groom minorities for careers as the next generation of physicians and scientists, some of whom will be part of our new faculty. The mentoring exhibited at this conference not only benefits students but benefits the mentors themselves. Both parts of my departmentís mission--to develop faculty and to increase diversity--are represented here."