White House lauds Physiological Society for mentoring underrepresented minorities in biomedicine

May 06, 2004

WASHINGTON (May 6, 2004) -- The White House and the National Science Foundation (NSF) today announced that the American Physiological Society (APS) is being awarded the 2003 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics, Science and Engineering Mentoring.

The award carries a $10,000 grant, which APS will use to help fund the Porter Physiology Fellowship Program designed to encourage underrepresented minority students in pursuing a doctorate in the physiological sciences. (See www.the-aps.org for more information.) APS was one of eight institutions and nine individuals to receive the Presidential award.

Based on APS' 40-year efforts, the Presidential Award said: "The American Physiological Society has undertaken initiatives across multiple levels of the education continuum to: develop long-term targeted programs for minority students and teachers; increase diversity among physiologists; and monitor the progress of minorities in the field of physiology."

APS Executive Director Dr. Martin Frank said: "The Society's programs to promote physiology among underrepresented minority students from kindergarten through post-doctoral studies started in 1966 when the Porter Fellowship refocused its efforts to encourage post-doctoral minority students. That was followed in 1987 by the APS Minority Travel Fellowships to our annual meeting and in 1990 when APS instituted its high school programs."

According to Dr. Marsha Lakes Matyas, APS Educational Director: "What sets the APS diversity efforts apart is that all of our programs - from preschool through graduate education - are carefully designed to encourage active participation by minority participants and are evaluated regularly for their impact and effectiveness," she said. "As a result, APS efforts form a cohesive and coherent support network promoting both diversity and excellence in science education and biomedical research."

"Minority participation in science has its roots in the early school years," Dr. Matyas added.

"Encouragement and role models must be teamed with excellence in science teaching in order to open the world of science to underrepresented students. Teachers in APS programs learn to integrate proven methods such as inquiry-based learning with Internet and other technologies to help students develop problem-solving and analytical skills for both science careers and citizenship in a technology-based world."

In supporting the APS nomination for the award, L. Gabriel Navar, chair of Tulane University School of Medicine's Department of Physiology, said: "As a member of the APS for over 30 years and a Mexican-American, it has been extremely gratifying to see the development of a diverse collection of programs designed to enhance the participation of members of underrepresented groups in science in general and the physiological sciences in particular."

Dr. Pamela H. Gunter-Smith, Porter Professor of Physiology and Associate Provost for Science and Mathematics at Spelman College, noted that "Most, if not all, of the minority physiologists who have successful careers in science can point to the APS as being pivotal in supporting their careers." A former Porter Predoctoral Fellow herself, Dr. Gunter-Smith said, "One of the achievements of which I am most proud is that of my students who have completed their PhDs, two are physiologists and both are former Porter Fellows." Dr. Gunter-Smith chairs the APS Porter Fellowship Program.

In a recent study, Drs. Frank and Matyas found that of the 73 Porter Fellowships awarded between 1967 and 2001, 64% were working in professional positions as physiologists, 20% were still completing their doctorate and 14% were in post-doctoral studies. Also, 42% were women, 67% were African-American and 29% were Hispanic. One Native American and two Pacific Islanders also participated.

Other recent examples of diversity mentoring programs come from the APS annual meeting in Washington, D.C. in late April:
-end-
The American Physiological Society (www.the-aps.org) is a professional scientific membership organization devoted to fostering scientific research, education, and the dissemination of scientific information. The APS supports a variety of educational activities including programs and fellowships to encourage the development of young scientists at the undergraduate and graduate levels, with a particular focus on women and underrepresented minorities. Founded in 1887, the Society's membership includes more than 11,000 professionals in science and medicine.

American Physiological Society

Related Diversity Articles from Brightsurf:

More plant diversity, less pesticides
Increasing plant diversity enhances the natural control of insect herbivory in grasslands.

Insect diversity boosted by combination of crop diversity and semi-natural habitats
To enhance the number of beneficial insect species in agricultural land, preserving semi-natural habitats and promoting crop diversity are both needed, according to new research published in the British Ecological Society's Journal of Applied of Ecology.

Ethnolinguistic diversity slows down urban growth
Where various ethnic groups live together, cities grow at a slower rate.

Protecting scientific diversity
The COVID-19 pandemic means that scientists face great challenges because they have to reorient, interrupt or even cancel research and teaching.

Cultural diversity in chimpanzees
Termite fishing by chimpanzees was thought to occur in only two forms with one or multiple tools, from either above-ground or underground termite nests.

Bursts of diversity in the gut microbiota
The diversity of bacteria in the human gut is an important biomarker of health, influences multiple diseases, such as obesity and inflammatory bowel diseases and affects various treatments.

Underestimated chemical diversity
An international team of researchers has conducted a global review of all registered industrial chemicals: some 350,000 different substances are produced and traded around the world -- well in excess of the 100,000 reached in previous estimates.

New world map of fish genetic diversity
An international research team from ETH Zurich and French universities has studied genetic diversity among fish around the world for the first time.

Biological diversity as a factor of production
Can the biodiversity of ecosystems be considered a factor of production?

Fungal diversity and its relationship to the future of forests
Stanford researchers predict that climate change will reduce the diversity of symbiotic fungi that help trees grow.

Read More: Diversity News and Diversity Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.