Accessible Search Form           Advanced Search

Skip left side navigation and go to content


Recruitment and Retention Plan to Enhance Diversity into Ruth L. Kirschstein Institutional National Research Service Award (T32)

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute National Institutes of Health

Revised: December 2010

back to Supplemental Guidelines for the Ruth L. Kirschstein Institutional National Research Service Award (T32)

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) is strongly committed to the recruitment of individuals who will increase diversity amongst those who receive training in heart, lung, and blood diseases and is, therefore, requiring all applicants for Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) training grants to submit an acceptable diversity recruitment and retention plan as part of their application package. A diversity recruitment and retention plan must apply specifically to the proposed training program, in addition to the efforts put forth to recruit for the institution as a whole. Although collaboration with the institution’s Minority or Diversity Affairs Office is not discouraged, that alone is not sufficient to fulfill the requirement.

Applicants can refer to the NIH website for many of the common questions asked NIH-wide regarding the Recruitment and Retention Plan to Enhance Diversity.

To assist in the implementation of this policy, the NHLBI has prepared the following suggested elements, examples, and questions and answers regarding recruitment strategies for increasing diversity in training programs.


In developing a plan to recruit students who will increase diversity, Program Directors may wish to coordinate their activities with the institution’s office of graduate studies or research administration. For example, some institutions already employ an individual whose major responsibility is diversity recruitment. There may be university-wide graduate opportunities programs, diversity student services programs, and special support mechanisms. The following suggestions are not exhaustive and are not meant to be all-inclusive. Recruitment efforts have been developed, taking into account the special resources and circumstances of individual institutions. Many of the suggestions below are directed to predoctoral training grant programs. With some modifications, they may be applied to postdoctoral training grant applications as well.

  1. Ways to Publicize the Program
    1. Journals notices indicating that the program is actively recruiting individuals with diverse backgrounds.
    2. Recruitment sessions and posters/flyers for scientific meetings, (e.g., Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students - ABRCMS and Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science - SACNAS. Please note that the NHLBI has an exhibit booth annually at these meetings. Additional meeting: National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) Minority Biomedical Research Support (MBRS) Program, and Minority Access to Research Careers (MARC) Honors Undergraduate Research Training Program).
    3. Communications (e.g., letters, phone calls, brochures, posters) with deans and department chairs at schools having substantial enrollment from individuals with diverse backgrounds. Lists of these schools may be obtained from the NIGMS MBRS and MARC programs, and from the United Negro College Fund.
    4. A video tape that describes graduate training opportunities which can be used at schools and at scientific meetings.
    5. Contact the Student National Medical Association (SNMA), Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU), and sub-specialty groups within the National Medical Association (such as the Association of Black Cardiologists) and place notices in the Journal of the National Medical Association.
    6. Post notices on web sites of university, colleges and institutions with high proportions of students from diverse backgrounds and trainees, and subspecialty organizations.
  2. Targeted Activities
    1. Visits by training grant program directors, preceptors, and participating students to schools with substantial diverse enrollments to publicize graduate training opportunities.
    2. Programs designed to identify and attract potential applicants from diverse backgrounds. Examples include summer research programs for undergraduates, special science courses, and workshop/seminars on research opportunities.
    3. Career fairs at colleges or biomedicine-related events.
    4. Booths at medical conferences focusing on physicians and scientists from diverse backgrounds.
  3. Interaction with Applicants
    1. Direct communication (e.g., letters, phone call) with prospective applicants. Potential applicants from diverse backgrounds may be identified through the efforts listed above and from the following sources:
      1. Diversity Graduate Student Locator Service of the Educational Testing Service (can be searched by specific criteria)
      2. Lists compiled by the institution or shared by affiliated institutions
      3. Students supported by Minority Access to Research Careers (MARC) and Minority Biomedical Research Supplement (MBRS) programs
      4. National Science Foundation (NSF) predoctoral diverse fellows
      5. Scientific societies’ minority mailing lists
    2. Invitations to prospective diversity applicants (individually or in groups) to visit the campus and meet the faculty and students.
  • Contact deans of medical schools with a large number of students from diverse backgrounds
  • Inform deans of minority affairs in medical schools with formal diversity programs
  • Contact chiefs of the Minority Access to Research Careers (MARC) and Minority Biomedical Research Support (MBRS) SCORE programs
  • Contact Association of Minority Health Professional Schools and National Association of Medical Minority Educators
  • Canvas directors of NHLBI-related basic and clinical training programs with high percentage of students from diverse backgrounds.
  • Work with office of student affairs of your institution and schools with diverse populations to identify, contact, and recruit students from diverse backgrounds
  • Meet with representatives of minority health organizations
  • Promote diverse representation when conducting interviews for training positions
  • Use Graduate Student Directory as a source for mailing list
  • Place ads in journals targeting students from diverse backgrounds
  • Plan a symposium on career areas and opportunities for students from diverse backgrounds in biomedical sciences
  • Teach a course at a local institution with students from diverse backgrounds
  • Offer summer research opportunities to students from diverse backgrounds
  • Develop relationship with associations that have medical and graduate students from diverse backgrounds such as:
    • Student National Medical Association (SNMA)
    • Association of American Indian Physicians (AAIP)
    • Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS)
    • Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS)
    • American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES)
    • Society of Mexican American Engineers and Scientists (MAES), Inc.
  • Contact career counselors and faculty advisors
Twitter iconTwitterimage of external icon Facebook iconFacebookimage of external icon YouTube iconYouTubeimage of external icon Google+ iconGoogle+image of external icon