• Press Release

Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Named a Recipient of the Largest U.S. Collaborative Funding Effort for Equity in Biomedicine

Grant will help support biomedical researchers whose caregiving responsibilities were intensified by the pandemic

  • New York, NY
  • (November 23, 2021)

The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai is among the 22 recipient institutions of the largest U.S. collaborative funding effort for equity in biomedicine, a $12.1 million effort made possible by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation in concert with the American Heart Association, the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, the John Templeton Foundation, the Rita Allen Foundation, and the Walder Foundation.

Grants from the nation’s largest funding collaborative advancing equity in the biomedical sciences, the COVID-19 Fund to Retain Clinical Scientists are designed to support the strengthening of policies, practices, and processes to advance the research productivity and retention of early-career faculty members whose family caregiving responsibilities have intensified due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Fund awarded $550,000 to Icahn Mount Sinai to support early-career biomedical faculty members who are experiencing periods of caregiving crisis. The grant can be used for supplemental research support, such as hiring administrative personnel, statisticians, and technicians, among other uses. This support will allow emerging contributors to scientific discovery to keep their important work on track while directly tending to the needs of their families.

Across the entire workforce, the pandemic has exacerbated the caregiving demands too often disproportionately experienced by women and people of color. The sciences have been hit especially hard, putting decades of increasing representation of women in these fields at risk. This challenge is made more visible by the COVID-19 pandemic. Bioscience researchers, especially those with dependents, decreased time spent on research significantly according to a recent report by the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine earlier this year.

"Society cannot afford to lose the future contributions of these promising early-career scientists. With support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, these Distinguished Scholars will be able to reinvigorate their research programs and get back to the business of scientific discovery and improving human health,” said Amy S. Kelley, MD, Senior Associate Dean for Gender Equity in Research Affairs at Icahn Mount Sinai.

The stark effects of COVID-19 on caregivers in biomedicine also present an urgent opportunity for the biomedical sciences to better support faculty who identify as women and/or as members of communities of color, including Black and Indigenous people, and remove systemic barriers to their advancement. Icahn Mount Sinai was chosen for this grant to implement supportive programs due to its strong body of research, aggressive efforts to provide a more equitable and inclusive environment for faculty and students, and commitment to further advancing such efforts.

“Our early-career scientists are the foundation that will shape the future of health and innovation. The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the unique challenges faced by these exceptional Distinguished Scholars, and we are honored to provide them with critical research support through the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. With these resources, we continue to elevate the robust scientific exploration that will ultimately lead to groundbreaking improvements within the communities we serve,” said Toni Stern, MD, Senior Associate Dean for Gender Equity in Clinical Affairs for Icahn Mount Sinai.

“COVID-19 brought us face-to-face, or Zoom-to-Zoom, with the caregiving demands so many face. This is a crisis for biomedical science—but it can be an opportunity,” stated Sam Gill, CEO and president of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. “These medical schools are leading the way in seizing the urgency of the moment to challenge business as usual and to commit to innovative approaches that will assure a more inclusive, equitable future across the biomedical sciences.”

“The pandemic has been particularly challenging for clinical scientists, especially women and people of color who are already disproportionately under-represented in science. Keeping research moving forward and ensuring equity in research is vital. The AHA is committed to support diverse investigators as part of the COVID-19 Fund to Retain Clinical Scientists to advance equity in the biomedical sciences through policies, practices and education,” said Nancy Brown, CEO of the American Heart Association.

With expanded support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation’s COVID-19 Fund to Retain Clinician Scientists, the 2022 Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Distinguished Scholar Award will be awarded to seven junior scholars. In addition, the Office of Gender Equity in Science and Medicine will connect awardees to key institutional career development resources, including Mount Sinai LEAD and programs through the Offices for Women’s Careers (OWC), Faculty Development (OFD), and Diversity and Inclusion (ODI). This award is now open for application to Assistant Professors and first-year Associate Professors with independent research programs for the opportunity to receive funding to help maintain momentum as they integrate family caretaking responsibilities into their careers at Icahn Mount Sinai. Applications are due at 11:59 pm on Tuesday, January 18, 2022, and can be submitted here. For more information on this award, including eligibility, application requirements, and more, applicants can register for an information session regarding the award here on Tuesday, December 7, from 1 to 2 pm.

To learn more about the COVID-19 Fund to Retain Clinical Scientists and for the full list of institution recipients, visit the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation’s website.

About the Mount Sinai Health System

Mount Sinai Health System is one of the largest academic medical systems in the New York metro area, with 48,000 employees working across eight hospitals, more than 400 outpatient practices, more than 600 research and clinical labs, a school of nursing, and a leading school of medicine and graduate education. Mount Sinai advances health for all people, everywhere, by taking on the most complex health care challenges of our time—discovering and applying new scientific learning and knowledge; developing safer, more effective treatments; educating the next generation of medical leaders and innovators; and supporting local communities by delivering high-quality care to all who need it.

Through the integration of its hospitals, labs, and schools, Mount Sinai offers comprehensive health care solutions from birth through geriatrics, leveraging innovative approaches such as artificial intelligence and informatics while keeping patients’ medical and emotional needs at the center of all treatment. The Health System includes approximately 9,000 primary and specialty care physicians and 11 free-standing joint-venture centers throughout the five boroughs of New York City, Westchester, Long Island, and Florida. Hospitals within the System are consistently ranked by Newsweek’s® “The World’s Best Smart Hospitals, Best in State Hospitals, World Best Hospitals and Best Specialty Hospitals” and by U.S. News & World Report's® “Best Hospitals” and “Best Children’s Hospitals.” The Mount Sinai Hospital is on the U.S. News & World Report® “Best Hospitals” Honor Roll for 2023-2024.

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