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“Biomedical Workforce Diversity: The Context for Mentoring to Develop Talents and Foster Success Within the ‘Pipeline’”


Like all biomedical research fields, AIDS research needs the broadest diversity of experiences and perspectives among researchers in the field if creative advancements are to be achieved. Mentors and mentoring are the most important vehicles by which the talents of young scientists are developed. However, mentoring as a teaching and learning paradigm is very complex and idiosyncratic, and often inadvertently fails to provide the same quality and quantity of opportunity to aspiring scientists who are ‘different’ from those doing the mentoring. This article provides a theoretical and practical framework for understanding how differences of race, ethnicity, gender, skin color, social status and other identifiable characteristics can play into scientific development during mentoring ‘within the pipeline’. It also serves as a foundation upon which mentoring in AIDS is considered by subsequent papers in this series. Finally, it goes beyond mentoring to propose systematic coaching as an effective complement to research mentoring to promote success, especially for individuals from underrepresented groups.

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Support for this work has been provided by grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), including: R01 GM85385, R01 GM085385-02S1 (ARRA), R01 NR011987, DP4 GM096807 (ARRA), R01 GM107701, and the National Research Mentoring Network (NRMN) through U54 MD009479. I would like to gratefully acknowledge invaluable conversations with all of the current and past members of our Scientific Careers Research and Development Group at Northwestern. Collaborations and discussions with other colleagues have also contributed greatly, including Dr. Christine Pfund, Dr. Steven P. Lee, Dr. Angela Byars-Winston and Dr. Janet Branchaw.


The studies of the author that are referenced were funded by: R01 GM85385, R01 GM085385-02S1 (ARRA), R01 NR011987, DP4 GM096807 (ARRA), R01 GM107701, and U54 MD009479 (NRMN).

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Correspondence to Richard McGee.

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All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of Northwestern University, and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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McGee, R. “Biomedical Workforce Diversity: The Context for Mentoring to Develop Talents and Foster Success Within the ‘Pipeline’”. AIDS Behav 20, 231–237 (2016).

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  • Mentoring
  • Coaching
  • Communities of practice
  • Diversity
  • STEM pipeline