The AAMC on May 27 submitted a letter to the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) within the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in response to a request for information (RFI) inviting comments and suggestions on initiatives that improve biomedical research training, career progression, and the educational environment. The NIGMS serves as the agency’s nucleus for a wide variety of programs that develop a strong and diverse biomedical research workforce, and this RFI was intended to assist the institute in amplifying trainee voices and in encouraging the development of future initiatives.
Drawn from perspectives from the academic medicine community, the letter outlined the enormous value of biomedical research training programs, including, but not limited to, skills development, mentorship, recruitment of a diverse range of trainees, and cohort building. Among the recommendations highlighted in the response, the AAMC urged the NIH to increase sharing and coordination among NIGMS-supported training programs, solicit and leverage broader input, support a culture that increases cohort building, and create new models of administrative program support, which would promote the inclusion of programs that lack centralized institutional administrative support.
The comments also noted the importance of allowing trainees to drive the assembly of initiatives and workshops that expose them to career and professional skills, thereby fostering their sense of empowerment, professional networking, and ownership over their career progression. Lastly, the letter urged the NIGMS and the NIH to foster appreciation and recognition of mentoring among faculty, particularly mechanisms to help mitigate the asymmetrical mentorship time expended by women faculty and women of color.