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NIH Updates for Women in Biomedical Careers

Jennifer Reineke Pohlhaus, Ph.D., Editor
Office of Research on Women's Health
Office of the Director, National Institutes of Health

 

Volume 1, Issue 1 (June 2008)
NIH Updates on Women in Science is brought to you by the NIH Working Group on Women in Biomedical Careers. We encourage you to forward this e-newsletter to colleagues who may find it of interest. 
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Contents of this Issue
Notice of Intent: RFA on Women in Biomedical and Behavioral Research
NIH Revises Parental Leave Policy for the Ruth L. Kirschstein NRSA Trainees and Fellows
National Academy of Sciences Announces 72 New Members; Sixteen are women – one declines
AAMC Releases a “Roadmap to Diversity”
Stanford University Researchers Determine Factors Associated with Decline in Interest in Premedical Studies for Women and Underrepresented Minorities
Harvard Business Review publishes “The Athena Factor: Reversing the Brain Drain in Science, Engineering, and Technology”
European Parliament Calls for Gender Balance on Decision-making Bodies in Public Sector Research

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Notice of Intent to Publish a Request for Applications for Research on Causal Factors and Interventions that Promote and Support the Careers of Women in Biomedical and Behavioral Research

The Office of the Director, NIH, plans to issue a Request for Applications (RFA) to research and analyze causal factors and interventions that promote and support the careers of women in biomedical and behavioral research, defined broadly to include science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. The RFA is expected to be published in July 2008, with a receipt date in October 2008, in order to fund up to eight R01 awards in fiscal year 2009.
The aims of the RFA are to support research on:

  • the causal factors such as individual characteristics, institutional/departmental environment, organizational structure, and disciplinary culture or practices explaining the current patterns observed in the careers of women in science and variation across different subgroups such as underrepresented minority women and socioeconomically disadvantaged women, and
  • the efficacy of programs designed to support the careers of women in science
    Investigators are strongly encouraged to collaborate with colleagues in the natural, behavioral and social sciences, as well as other fields, as needed.

Read more …

NIH Revises Parental Leave Policy for the Ruth L. Kirschstein NRSA Trainees and Fellows

Trainees and fellows may receive stipends for up to 60 calendar days (equivalent to 8 work weeks) of parental leave per year for the adoption or the birth of a child when those in comparable training positions at the grantee organization have access to this level of paid leave for this purpose. Either parent is eligible for parental leave. The use of parental leave must be approved by the training Program Director.
Read more …

National Academy of Sciences Announces 72 New Members; Sixteen are women – one declines

The National Academy of Sciences announced the election of 72 members for 2008; sixteen are women, nearly reaching the record of 19 women elected in one year (2005).  Of the sixteen women, at least six of them are currently supported by NIH grants through the National Cancer Institute (NCI), National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), and the Fogarty International Center (FIC).  One of the sixteen was Dr. Jennifer Lippincott-Schwartz, an investigator in the NIH Intramural Program in the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD).  Another elected woman was Dr. Nancy Jenkins of the Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology in Singapore, who turned down the invitation after finding out that her husband and longtime scientific partner, Dr. Neal Copeland, was not simultaneously elected.  According to a report in Science, Dr. Jenkins declined the honor, saying “It is impossible to separate my contributions from Neal's as we did everything together on an equal basis” and that accepting would have betrayed their agreement to collaborate they made before they married.
Press Release from the National Academies
The Chronicle Review: As Usual, Few Women Elected to NAS
Science: The Cost of a Genuine Collaboration

AAMC Releases “Roadmap to Diversity: Key Legal and Educational Policy Foundations for Medical Schools”

Roadmap to Diversity: Key Legal and Educational Policy Foundations for Medical Schools is the first in a series of publications to be produced by the AAMC Holistic Review Project to help medical schools align admissions to mission, and establish and implement institutions-specific, diversity-related policies that will advance their core educational goals with minimal legal risk.
Read more…

Stanford University Researchers Determine Factors Associated with Decline in Interest in Premedical Studies for Women and Underrepresented Minorities

A negative experience in one or more chemistry courses was cited as the principal reason that students lose interest in continuing their undergraduate education as premeds, and fewer apply to graduate school.  Underrepresented minority students showed a larger decline in interest than non-underrepresented minority students, and women showed a larger decline in interest than men.  There was no association between scholastic ability and those who lost interest.
Read more …

Harvard Business Review publishes “The Athena Factor: Reversing the Brain Drain in Science, Engineering, and Technology”

The Athena Factor research project studied the career trajectories of women in the private science, engineering, and technology sector to uncover why more than half of the women on the corporate ladder drop out before reaching higher levels. They found five “antigens” that contribute to the exodus of female talent, and describe fourteen company initiatives to allow more women to stay on track in their careers. 
Read more …

European Parliament Calls for Gender Balance on Decision-making Bodies in Public Sector Research; States that Gender Parity Implies at Least 40% Female Representation

The European Parliament, the only directly-elected body of the European Union, adopted the Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality Report on Women in Science [2007/2206(INI)]and called on Member States to promote science as an interesting field for both sexes from an early age.  Members of the European Parliament (MEP) asserted that gender stereotypes are still present in the research sector, and encouraged universities to analyze and resolve all forms of implicit gender discrimination, noting that the conventional approach to evaluating "excellence" as the number of publications may not be gender neutral. In addition to offering adoptable measures to support the career progression of women, they criticize the European Union target of 25% female representation on Decision-making Bodies in Public Sector Research, calling for at least 40% to reach gender parity.
European Parliament Press Release
Legislative Procedure Directory, including summary of measures put forward

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This page last updated: August 9, 2018

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