NRMN Convenes Partner Societies and NIH Officials in April for Strategic Meeting at FASEB in Bethesda
Written by Gao Liu
BETHESDA, MD—On April 10th, NRMN hosted its biannual Professional and Scientific Society Partner Meeting. The meeting organizes NRMN-affiliated organizations for a briefing of NRMN’s progress across the past six months as well as steps to come in the near future.
Executive Director of NRMN and Principal Investigator of the Administrative Core, Dr. Rafael E. Luna, gave a presentation on NRMN’s achievement of reaching all fifty states, emphasizing the importance of leveraging a far-reaching nationwide platform in support of diversity in the biomedical world. With the recent efforts of NRMN’s Mountain West tour led by Luna in partnership with NRMN’s Research Resources and Outreach Core (RROC), NRMN has engaged members and partner institutions from an area which has historically lacked funding in comparison to coastal states.
Dr. Luna discusses these efforts in regard to the idea of the “Invisible College”, the tacit duty assumed between scientific professionals to mentor incipient researchers and pass down experience and knowledge from generation to generation.
It is through partnerships like these, harnessing and strengthening the Invisible College, that NRMN thrives and may best facilitate relationships between URMs and professional scientific organizations. In attendance at the Partners in Action meeting were various members from organizations including The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB), The American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB), The American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG), The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), various divisions of the NIH, and more.
After introductions and a briefing of NRMN’s progress, attendees assembled into two separate discussion groups to explore questions related to the retention of under-represented scientists and leveraging NRMN’s national reach, then reassembled to share the notes from their discussions. A group session then took place to discuss synergistic opportunities to advance science with NRMN in supporting of the persistence and advancement of members of each society through their respective careers. Discussions explored the value of diversity, inclusivity, and mentorship to each organization, followed by a generative discussion about strategies to foster these qualities through collaboration across the societies and through NRMN.
Assistant Director of NRMN Communications, Drew Simenson, followed up by reflecting on the critical relationship between partner collaborations and the NRMN, after which he and Dr. Luna led a generative discussion which provided attendees a segment to brainstorm and come up with new ideas for collaboration.
The National Postdoctoral Association and The Association of Biomolecular Resource Facilities (ABRF) were the first NRMN partner societies to officially sign an NRMN partner MOU, an agreement that was discussed and review during the April 10th meeting. NRMN expanded its April 2017 meeting to include additional individual meetings with key decision makers for the American Society for Cell Biology, American Physiological Society, and the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology across the following days of Tuesday, April 10th, and Wednesday, April 11th. Each meeting featured active review of the NRMN Partner MOU. Representatives from the American Association for the Advancement of Science received a copy of the NRMN MOU upon specific request immediately following the NRMN Partners meeting on April 10th.
In addition to these meetings with scienfitic society leadership, Dr. Luna and Mr. Simenson met with Drs. Anil Wali and Mary Ann Van Duyne and members of the National Institute of Cancer CURE and GMaP Programs, as well as with Dr. Ericka Boone, Director of the NIH Loan Repayment Program, and her team.
Partnering with scientific societies that support diversity and basic science allows for NRMN to establish mutually beneficial relationships that open up potential for future collaboration and that make an “Invisible College” of support among scientists more visible.