1. NIH FIRST at Mount Sinai

About NIH FIRST at Mount Sinai

Building off the Mount Sinai Health System’s strategies to enhance diversity, equity, and inclusion, the NIH Faculty Institutional Recruitment for Sustainable Transformation (NIH FIRST) program seeks to establish a culture of inclusive excellence throughout the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

Our immediate goal is to hire twelve tenure-track Assistant Professors poised to excel as independent investigators, yet our sights remain on the horizon. We will take a rigorous, evidence-based approach to promoting and sustaining an academic culture in which all faculty can thrive. To this end, we will iteratively evaluate, refine, and establish policies, processes, protocols, and infrastructure to ensure that everyone feels that they belong and are optimally positioned to succeed.

Research indicates that cluster hiring is an effective strategy for recruiting, hiring, and advancing faculty. The community that it fosters increases the productivity of faculty, as well as the likelihood of success. We will hire three people in each of four clusters—cancer, health equity, microbiology, and neuroscience—all housed within premier interdisciplinary research institutes, with the goal of enhancing collaborative science.

Our cluster leads are pre-eminent authorities in their fields, pointing the way forward in identifying opportunities for networking across Icahn Mount Sinai, as well as the larger scientific community.

It is paramount that our new faculty be integrated within the larger community of scholars in their discipline, and each new faculty member will be assigned an equitable and inclusive mentoring team, as well as receiving additional components of faculty development and support. These faculty will receive leadership training, practical guidance on subjects such as grant-writing, effective research lab management, and digital communication, and will be provided qualitative support to foster a greater sense of belonging and collaboration.

Our hiring initiative builds upon the work being done throughout Icahn Mount Sinai to promote anti-racism, health equity, and inclusive excellence.

These efforts include:

  • The Center for Scientific Diversity, launched in 2020, supports the research and advancement of underrepresented faculty, as well as strengthening the pathway of underrepresented trainees into the biomedical research workforce. The work of the Center is data-driven and is contributing to a scholarly discourse around inclusive excellence.

  • The Mount Sinai Institute for Health Equity Research brings together a multidisciplinary team of researchers addressing the disparities in health and health care that affect communities such as nonwhite, low-income, immigrant, uninsured, LGBTQ+, and other vulnerable populations. The goal of the Institute is to engage at-risk communities, enable access to health care resources, and inform lifesaving interventions.

  • The Mount Sinai Biomedical Laureates Program is designed to increase the number of Black and Latinx research faculty at Icahn Mount Sinai and support their growth as investigators and as leaders.

We are additionally proud of our efforts to promote anti-racism across the Mount Sinai Health System and in our learning and research environment, including our strategic Road Map for Action and the Institute for Equity and Justice in Health Sciences Education, among others.

The NIH FIRST at Mount Sinai initiative is supported by the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number U54CA267776. This award is supported by the NIH Common Fund, through the Office of Strategic Coordination/Office of the NIH Director.

Mission and Core Objectives

Our mission, through NIH FIRST at Mount Sinai, is to effect sustainable culture change at our institution through our three core objectives, and to support the new faculty hires in obtaining extramural funding.

Core Objectives

Our three core objectives inform our approach in creating a culture of inclusive excellence.

  • Aim 1: Enhance the Road Map for Action strategic plan, created by the Mount Sinai Health System Task Force to Address Racism, to create a targeted focus on fostering and sustaining a culture of inclusive excellence at Icahn Mount Sinai.
  • Aim 2: Design and implement a recruitment and hiring strategy targeted to early-career faculty who are committed to promoting diversity and inclusive excellence, and who are interested in participating in an NIH-supported FIRST cohort at Icahn Mount Sinai.
  • Aim 3: Design and implement a comprehensive program of mentoring/sponsorship and career development, designed to support research success, reduce isolation, and build community.

The NIH FIRST Cohort Cluster Hiring Initiative at Icahn Mount Sinai is supported by the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number U54CA267776. This award is supported by the NIH Common Fund, through the Office of Strategic Coordination/Office of the NIH Director.