Demystifying the National Institutes of Health diversity supplement: Mentee and mentor experiences and recommendations

Published:November 14, 2022DOI:


      • The diversity supplement is similar to a career development award and should be approached as such with regard to strong mentorship and well-thought-out training
      • Diversity supplements are an important start to the careers of underrepresented researchers; thus, mentees should consider developing the application around their research interests and goals
      • There is a need for a multipronged approach (institutions, NIH, mentors, and mentees) to enhance awareness of diversity supplements



      The National Institutes of Health supports professional development of diverse researchers through diversity supplements. Limited awareness and understanding of the application process have hindered utilization of this funding mechanism.


      We describe perspectives and recommendations of mentee and mentor recipients of diversity supplements.


      Our working group, comprised of faculty from an Historically Black College and University and an R1 research university, conducted stakeholder interviews with three mentees and four mentors from various institutions. We used content analysis to derive categories of experiences and recommendations.


      Interviewees reported on advantages of diversity supplements, ensuring institutional support, identifying a good mentee-mentor match, developing grantsmanship specific to diversity supplements, and increasing numbers of these applications.


      We identify opportunities for stakeholders to increase awareness of diversity supplements. Our data support greater understanding of this mechanism, establishing strong mentoring relationships, and submitting robust applications. Findings can enhance diversity among the scientific community.



      NIHMD (National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities)
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