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Hopkins BME joins university alliance to promote faculty diversity

October 18, 2023

Johns Hopkins University has joined the Alliance for Relevant and Inclusive Sponsorship of Engineers (ARISE), a group of four leading research institutions that will work together to design and implement strategies intended to increase the number of faculty from groups historically underrepresented in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

With grants totaling $3.3 million from the National Science Foundation, the ARISE Alliance will develop a discipline-relevant and inclusive faculty sponsorship model that aims to increase the professional success of diverse junior BME researchers at Johns Hopkins, Brown University, Columbia University, and Yale University.

The Alliance was inspired by ongoing recognition at Johns Hopkins and its partners that a more diverse STEM student body and faculty is critical for ensuring US innovation and leadership.

“The mission of ARISE aligns well with our values of inclusive excellence at Johns Hopkins Biomedical Engineering. Our goal is to create and maintain an environment in which everyone is able to thrive, regardless of background or identity. Achieving this requires new mechanisms to recruit and support members of underrepresented groups in the field. We need more diverse faculty representation within the field of biomedical engineering to continue innovating solutions that will improve and expand health care delivery across the globe,” said Michael I. Miller, Bessie Darling Massey Professor and Director of the Johns Hopkins Department of Biomedical Engineering and a principal investigator for the Alliance.

The grant is part of the NSF’s Alliances for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP) program, which supports alliances among higher education institutions to increase the number of historically underrepresented STEM faculty.

ARISE scholars — doctoral candidates, postdoctoral research scholars, and early career faculty members from underrepresented minoritized (URM) populations — will be matched with an established faculty sponsor with similar research interests at an ARISE partner institution. ARISE sponsors will actively promote the scholar’s research as well as support networking activities and extended campus visits; in turn, ARISE scholars will greatly expand their professional networks by working with sponsors outside of their own institution.

Collectively, the four ARISE institutions have more than one hundred faculty available to serve as sponsors of young biomedical engineering scholars. Longer term, these networks will translate into greater diversity among faculty in the ARISE Alliance’s academic departments, the principal investigators say.

The Alliance will expand upon existing programs to strengthen Hopkins BME’s culture of inclusive excellence in recent years, such as the Rising Stars in Engineering in Health Workshop, a two-day, interactive workshop to train and empower the next generation of biomedical engineering leaders in academia; and the BME Distinguished Fellows program, which provides talented, interdisciplinary postdoctoral fellows with an accelerated pathway to independence.

Warren Grayson, a professor of biomedical engineering and the BME department’s Vice Chair of Faculty Affairs, will oversee the Alliance efforts at Johns Hopkins and says that solving today’s toughest research challenges requires insight from diverse perspectives and diverse professionals. “But for that to happen, universities must develop programs that motivate trainees at all levels from historically underrepresented communities to pursue careers in higher education and provide nourishing environments to support them along the way. By working together, this Alliance has the research and institutional capacity to nurture the next generation of diverse biomedical engineers,” he said.

Category: Department
Associated Faculty: Michael I. Miller, Warren L. Grayson

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