At the Center for Scientific Diversity (CSD) at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, we strive to increase the research success and equitable advancement of underrepresented faculty researchers in academic medical centers—both investigators and trainees. To this end, we perform a variety of advanced research initiatives. In addition, our faculty has published their findings.

The Scholars Portal

Center for Scientific Diversity on the Icahn School of Medicine Scholars Portal

Ongoing Research

Projects the center is currently involved with include the following:

  • National Institutes of Health (NIH) FIRST Cohort Cluster Hiring Initiative

    Objective: The NIH Faculty Institutional Recruitment for Sustainable Transformation (FIRST) Cohort Cluster Hiring Initiative strives to promote and sustain an academic culture of inclusive excellence by recruiting, hiring, and advancing 12 dynamic and promising early-stage investigators in the biomedical sciences, particularly those who are underrepresented in science and medicine and who are committed to diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility. The 12 new faculty—with research specializations in neuroscience, health disparities, cancer, and microbiology—will be hired across four premier research institutes: The Friedman Brain Institute, the Institute for Health Equity Research, The Tisch Cancer Institute, and the Global Health and Emerging Pathogens Institute.
    Funding Agency: NCI/NIH 1U54CA267776
    Grant Period: 2021-2026
    Principle Investigators: Emma K. T. Benn, DrPH, MPH, Kirk Campbell, MD, Lynne Richardson, MD, and Eric Nestler, MD, PhD
    Evaluation Core Directors: Uraina Clark, PhD; Nihal Mohamed, PhD
    Faculty Development Core Directors: Benjamin Chen, MD, PhD; Lauren Peccoralo, MD
    For more information: NIH FIRST Program at ISMMS website

  • Accelerating Inclusion in Medicine and Healthcare Innovation (AIM-HI) Pipeline Program

    Objective: AIM-HI is an eight-week summer mentored research training initiative for underrepresented undergraduates from New York City who are interested in pursuing a career as a physician or physician-scientist. The program components are: mentored research experience, clinical engagement/shadowing experience, medical school and graduate school preparedness and professional development, and the Center for Scientific Diversity (CSD) Learning Laboratory. The CSD Learning Laboratory focuses on aspects of well-being specific to the experience of underrepresented groups in science, technology, engineering, math, and medicine (STEMM) fields. Specifically, scholars collectively review the literature related to well-being as defined by scientific identity, resilience, and sense of belonging. Based on their findings, and with the guidance of the AIM-HI co-directors and the CSD team, they develop recommendations for improving representation of underrepresented groups in STEMM.  
    Funding Agency: Associated Medical Schools of New York
    Grant Period: 2022-2023
    Principle Investigators: Tracy Layne, PhD, MPH and Jamilia Sly, PhD

  • Portal for Advancing Inclusion, Research Excellence, and Diversity

    Objective: The objective is to develop and test a digital platform called Portal for Advancing Inclusion, Research Excellence, and Diversity (PAIRED). The PAIRED platform is designed to address the underrepresentation of racial and ethnic minorities and individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds in the scientific workforce. The NIH has developed a number of initiatives intended to increase diversity in the scientific workforce, including the Diversity Supplements Program (DSP). PAIRED aims to increase participation in the DSP by matching underrepresented trainees with NIH-funded scientists at Icahn Mount Sinai. The PAIRED platform will also provide resources for the faculty mentors to increase their likelihood of submitting a successful NIH Diversity Supplement application, and ensure that they use an antiracist, inclusive, and equitable approach to mentoring.
    Funding Agency: Icahn Mount Sinai Office of Faculty Development
    Grant Period: 2021-2022
    Principle Investigators: Sarah Miller, PsyD, Jamilia Sly, PhD, Tracy Layne, PhD, MPH, and Uraina Clark, PhD

Selected Publication

Layne Tracy M, Clark Uraina S, Mohamed Nihal E, Miller Sarah J, Sly Jamilia R, Kata Holden E, Astha Varuna, Lawrence Steven A, Hutson Yvette, Campbell Kirk N, Benn Emma K. (In press). Undue Burden: Black Faculty, COVID-19, and the Racial Justice Movement. Journal of Clinical and Translational Science. 

Abstract: This article considers how the dual pandemic climate of COVID-19-related health inequities and the racial justice movement and reform could exacerbate the “time and effort tax” on Black faculty to engage in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts in academia and biomedicine. The manuscript focuses on Black faculty, given that the confluence of these issues disproportionately affect Black populations, though they have broader relevance to the experience of other marginalized groups. The piece highlights the contextual shift toward broader recognition of systemic racism, and not race, as the shared foundational driver of the dual pandemics of COVID-19-related health inequities and racial injustice. It discusses the impact of the “tax” on career advancement and well-being, and introduces an operational framework for considering the interconnected influence of systemic racism, the dual pandemics, and DEI work on the experience of Black faculty. We conclude by acknowledging that if not meaningfully addressed, the very diversity, equity, and inclusion work meant to increase representation could decrease it.