program at UMMS aims to enhance diversity in the biomedical sciences

A Baltimore hospital is working to increase diversity in a field of medicine underrepresented by minorities. Friday marked the last day for a group of interns participating in a special program through the University of Maryland Medical System’s Greenbaum Comprehensive Cancer Center. The interns took part in hands-on laboratory experience through a special internship at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, which is funded by the American Cancer Society. The goal is to increase diversity in the field of biomedical science. “When you look at the general population, it’s very diverse, but we don’t see the same diversity in the biomedical field,” said Tonya Webb, PhD, assistant director of diversity, equity and inclusion at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. “That’s what we want, we want to encourage diversity so we can come up with better solutions, and this program creates opportunities for that.” Eight students from universities across the country were selected for the 11-week paid internship, which they spent summer in the lab, working with mentors, conducting cancer research and more. “Others work on genomics. Some work on infections that infect babies,” Webb said. Rising senior Daniel Jones studied how to prevent tooth decay. “So, we looked at bacteria, metabolites and plaque. It was a wide variety of things,” Jones said. Trinity Soto, a senior at Towson University, said the internship marked her first time working in a lab like this one. She said it changed her entire career path. “I used to just want to go to medical school and get a PhD, but now I’m looking at an MD/PhD because the research seems very exciting. I love the atmosphere,” Soto said. The goal for next summer is to expand the number of students and the length of the internship to attract more young people to the field.

A Baltimore hospital is working to increase diversity in a field of medicine that is underrepresented by minorities.

Friday marked the last day for a group of interns participating in a special program through the University of Maryland Medical System’s Greenbaum Comprehensive Cancer Center.

The interns took part in hands-on laboratory experience through a special internship at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, which is funded by the American Cancer Society. The goal is to increase diversity in the field of biomedical sciences.

“When you look at the general population, it’s very diverse, but we don’t see the same diversity in the biomedical field,” said Tonya Webb, Ph.D., assistant director of diversity, equity and inclusion at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. “That’s what we want, we want to encourage diversity so we can come up with better solutions, and this program creates opportunities for that.”

Eight students from universities across the country were selected for an 11-week paid internship where they spent the summer in the lab working with mentors, conducting cancer research and more.

“Others are working on genomics. Some are working on infections that infect babies,” Webb said.

Rising senior Daniel Jones researched how to prevent tooth decay.

“So, we’re looking at bacteria, metabolites and plaque. There’s a wide variety of things,” Jones said.

Trinity Soto, a senior at Towson University, said the internship marked her first time working in a lab like this one. She said it changed her entire career path.

“I used to just want to go to medical school and get a PhD, but now I’m looking at an MD/PhD because the research seems very exciting. I love the atmosphere,” Soto said.

The goal for next summer is to increase the number of students and the duration of the internship to attract more young people to the field.

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