To provide anti-racism education in our space of influence and the broader community, be of service to organizations at Mount Sinai that are continuing this work; and conduct yearly evaluations of anti-racism practices.
Our Action Plan
Our action plan contains five steps to promote awareness and improve diversity in the Department of Pharmacological Sciences (DPS). This initial list of actions represents only a small part of the work that is necessary to move towards creating a more inclusive and equitable STEM field long-term. These initiatives area common effort from the DPS community, faculty, students, postdocs and administration team.
A starting place to learn together about the roots and impacts of racism and commit to anti-racism self-education. Groups with 8-10 people and 1-2 facilitators meet at least 3 times to discuss readings.
What makes these reading groups “anti-racist?” In these reading groups we:
- Educate ourselves about race & systemic racism
- Listen to others who think & look differently than yourself
- Are vulnerable about our own biases & knowledge gaps
- Seek out questions that make us uncomfortable
- Sit with our discomfort
- Challenge our attitudes and beliefs
Books are obtained from black-owned bookstores.
On October 29, 2020, the Department of Pharmacological Sciences – Student and Postdoc Association (DPS-SPA) was privileged to host the first DPS diversity seminar series which will highlight Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) speakers in science. The first speaker in this series was Dr. Yasmin Hurd, the Director of the Addiction Institute at Mount Sinai. She is the Ward-Coleman Chair in Translational Neuroscience. Dr. Hurd is a Sinai professor in the departments of Psychiatry, Neurosciences, and Pharmacological Sciences.
Most recently, Dr. Yasmin Hurd has received the Mika Salpeter Lifetime Achievement Award, which recognizes neuroscientists w/ outstanding achievements that have significantly promoted the advancement of Women In Neuroscience.
Dr. Hurd is a strong advocate for diversity and equality in science and has published a paper highlighting issues on “Addressing racism and disparities in the biomedical sciences” in Nature Human Behavior.
The members DPS-SPA hosted the Open Conversation Series about racism and inequality. The main motivation for having these Open Conversation Series were inspired by the events that led to the #ShutDownAcademia #ShutDownSTEM strike. Our aim is to engage the DPS and Mount Sinai community in a conversation about systemic racism in science and learn from the experience of established scientists.
In 2020, in the wake of the death of George Floyd and the height of the Black Lives Matter Movement, the DPS-SPA team launched the first of its diversity initiatives with the first “Open Conversation” series on racism and inequality with the Dean of the DPS, Dr. Ming-Ming Zhou.
Dr. Zhou talked about his role as the Dean to enhance diversity at the department and make the department more inclusive. The DPS-SPA will continue to provide forums for open discussions on topics related to race and diversity by continuing to have these “Open Conversations”.
Our second session featuring Dr. Hurd focused on implicit bias, meritocracy, and the importance of institutional changes to minimize systemic racism in science. Dr. Hurd shared insights from her article Addressing racism and disparities in the biomedical sciences published in Nature Human Behavior this year.
This June (2021) with the help of the department, the DPS-SPA plans to host the first annual DPS Diversity Symposium where we will share information about DPS-SPA and departmental efforts and initiatives to combat racism and inequality We plan to have engaging sessions with various speakers that we hope will help to advance diversity dialogue and promote inclusivity in our community.
We are now in the planning stages of this event and we are recruiting members for our planning committee.
Please feel free to reach to DPS-SPA to Join.
The Post-Baccalaureate Research Education Program (PREP) is a NIH-funded post-baccalaureate program intended for recent college graduates from underrepresented communities. The program is designed to provide mentoring and enhance research skills for students who are interested in pursuing PhD or MD/PhD training and research careers in biomedicine. The PREP program at Mount Sinai is led by Dr. Eric Sobie from the Department of Pharmacological Sciences. The DPS-SPA has partnered with Dr. Sobie to help foster a supportive learning environment by providing additional mentoring and training for soft skills.
In 2020, the Department of Pharmacological Sciences and the DPS-SPA, partnered with the PREP program to announce the launch of the Krulwich Fellowship at the annual DPS Retreat. The Krulwich Fellowship was named in honor of Dr. Terry A. Krulwich who pioneered the PREP program at Mount Sinai.
Each year, two PREP students will be selected by a panel vote to receive the Fellowship that includes a $5000 award. The Krulwich Fellows are PREP students who have exhibited exceptional academic excellence and overcome significant adversity. This year, the Krulwich Fellowship was granted to Jailene Paredes and Anthony Azzun.
Jailene Paredes, as a black female of Puerto Rican and Dominican descent, Jailene wishes to become a physician-scientist and bring perspectives from these cultures to the sciences and help reduce biases.
Anthony Azzun, as a first-generation student, black male, and member of the LGBTQ+ community, Anthony overcame many obstacles. Now, a former Fullbright Scholar, Anthony wishes to pursue a MD/PhD and a scientific career in the field of biomedicine.
Funding for the fellowship was generously provided by the endowed professors in the department.
- Aneel Aggarwal, PhD
- Lakshmi Devi, PhD
- Marta Filizola, PhD
- Srinivas (Ravi) Iyengar, PhD
- Jian Jin, PhD
- Avi Ma’ayan, PhD
- Francesco Ramirez, PhD
- Ming-Ming Zhou, PhD
The DPS-SPA is proud to announce individualized mentoring for the Krulwich Fellows and all PREP students. This one-on-one mentoring aspect will be tailored to each student and their needs for a successful entry into a PhD or MD/PhD program.
The mentorship program for the PREP students will be characterized by individual mentorship by a mentorship team, including the PREP program director Dr. Eric Sobie, a senior student or postdoc, and an endowed professor in the Department of Pharmacological Sciences. The following description details goals for mentorship by students and postdocs and does not contain specific aims for mentorship by endowed professors.
The mentorship program's main goal is to establish an environment that will help the mentees (PREP fellows) navigate through their scientific career at Mount Sinai and prepare for their future endeavors in careers in biomedicine. The mentors provide assistance, substantive feedback as well accountability related to the student’s career and professional goals while striving to create a safe space and emotional support system.
In tandem, this program aims to help mentors (students and postdocs) to acquire leadership and mentoring experience. Mentors will learn how to guide and inspire students, skills that are fundamental for job applications and successful careers.