Democrat & Chronicle
By Stephen Dewhurst
December 27, 2014
Recently, I was invited down to the National Institutes of Health to visit with Dr. Hannah Valantine – the NIH’s first Chief Officer for Scientific Workforce Diversity.
I came as part of an unusual joint group from both RIT/NTID and the U of R – led by Gerry Buckley, the President of the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID). Dr. Valantine had specifically asked to meet with us because of Rochester’s growing reputation as a hub for innovative training and access programs for deaf and hard of hearing students – including a recently launched joint program between RIT and URthat prepares deaf students to enter Ph.D. programs in biomedical research.
This is an important issue because deaf individuals are profoundly underrepresented in the U.S. biomedical research workforce.
Rochester is in a unique position to serve as a national model for training deaf biomedical scientists, because of the combined strength of NTID’s decades of experience and innovative educational programs, and its partnership with a premier research university (UR).
Dr. Valantine wanted to know about lessons learned, and experiences gained – because of her view that biomedical research is strengthened by the different ideas and perspectives that come from a diverse scientific workforce. The challenge lies in creating the opportunities to make that happen – and to ensure that (deaf) young people interested in science get the chance to live their dream.