Skip Over Navigation Links

Summary of the Open Session of the National Advisory General Medical Sciences Council Meeting – January 25, 2013

Until the official minutes of the January 24-25, 2013, meeting of the National Advisory General Medical Sciences Council are posted on this Web site, we are providing this summary of the major topics covered during the Council's open session on January 25.

NIGMS Acting Director’s Report

Acting NIGMS Director Dr. Judith H. Greenberg updated the Council on new NIH and HHS appointments, welcomed new NIGMS staff who had recently joined the Institute and reported that the NIGMS Director search is ongoing. Dr. Greenberg announced the completion of a report [PDF, 526KB] detailing progress made toward achieving the four goals of the the NIGMS strategic plan issued in 2008. She mentioned a November 2012 workshop on causal factors and interventions that influence the careers of women in science and medicine, an area in which the NIH Working Group on Women in Biomedical Careers has funded research to further understand, and act upon, the issues. Finally, Dr. Greenberg summarized NIH’s plans to address the recommendations of the NIH Advisory Committee to the Director working groups on the biomedical workforce [PDF, 4.3MB], diversity in the biomedical research workforce [PDF, 3.4MB], and data and informatics [PDF, 874KB].

Contact: Dr. Judith H. Greenberg,, 301-594-2172

Capitol Hill Update

NIH Associate Director for Legislative Policy and Analysis Francis Patrick “Pat” White highlighted outcomes from the 2012 Presidential election and changes to key committees of jurisdiction for NIH. He also provided an update on the sequestration and debt ceiling negotiations and legislation thus far in the 113th Congress. Mr. White discussed possible implications of these activities for NIH.

Contact: Francis Patrick White,, 301-496-3471

Breaking the Bias Habit: A Clustered, Randomized Study of an Educational Intervention in STEMM Departments

Dr. Mary L. “Molly” Carnes of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, reported findings from her recent, NIGMS-supported research on "implicit bias". She has found that the mere existence of cultural stereotypes can lead unintentionally and unwittingly to bias in judgement and decision making, even in those individuals who embrace egalitarian principles and personally disavow prejudice. Her study further indicated that these implicit biases predict behavior better than do explicit beliefs, and that good intentions are not enough to prevent their influence. The study approached implicit gender bias as a habit of mind and aimed to mobilize behavioral change strategies to remediate implicit, habitual gender bias in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEMM) faculty.

Contact: Dr. Mary L. Carnes,, 608 263-9770

MIDAS: Modeling for Science and Public Health

In the 10 years since its inception, the Models of Infectious Disease Agent Study (MIDAS) consortium has conducted computational and analytical research on infectious disease dynamics to provide insights and tools to researchers, decision makers and public health professionals. MIDAS investigators Dr. Stephen Eubank of Virginia Tech and Dr. Donald S. Burke of the University of Pittsburgh provided an overview of the initiative. MIDAS models range from statistical and analytical methods to large-scale, agent-based models running on supercomputers. In addition to producing scholarly publications, MIDAS supports a data resource, a catalog of historical documents and the development of synthetic populations. MIDAS also supports training and outreach programs that emphasize the recruitment of students from underrepresented groups.

Contacts: Dr. Irene Eckstrand,, 301-594-0943; Dr. Stephen Eubank,, 540-231-2504; Dr. Donald S. Burke,, 412-624-3001

Report: Howard Hughes Medical Institute Workshop

One of the most daunting challenges facing the U.S. scientific enterprise continues to be developing our national talent pool to build the diverse and creative scientific workforce needed for the 21st century. While efforts to diversify science by NIH, the National Science Foundation, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) and others over the past four decades have resulted in modest gains in the participation of underrepresented minorities (URMs) in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields, it is clear that the strategies of past decades will not be sufficient to eliminate the pervasive disparity that exists in the scientific workforce. Dr. Cynthia M. Bauerle of HHMI discussed the deliberations and recommendations of the inaugural meeting of the NIGMS/HHMI Advisory Group on URM STEM Persistence, a diverse group of experts working to develop strategies to address the achievement gap.

Contact: Dr. Cynthia M. Bauerle,, 301-215-8853

Mentoring Workshop for New Faculty in Organic and Biological Chemistry

Since 2005, NIGMS has supported an annual, 3-day workshop for assistant professors in organic and biological chemistry through an investigator-initiated U13 conference grant. As described by Dr. Tadhg Begley of Texas A&M University, the principal investigator of the grant, the workshop aims to mentor junior faculty in the design of successful grant proposals that emphasize scientific impact through unique and productive research programs. The workshop also provides skill development toward success in other academic and professional activities (not including teaching). Dr. Begley reported that a 2012 evaluation of the workshop program confirmed community feedback that the program is effective and highly valued by the participants.

Contacts: Dr. Tadhg P. Begley,, 979-862-4091; Dr. Bob Lees,, 301-594-1338

This page last reviewed on January 28, 2013