September 18, 2023—(BRONX, NY)—Albert Einstein College of Medicine is launching a new comprehensive training program designed to enhance the professional skills necessary for successful careers in science and medicine. The objective of the Biomedical Sciences Leadership (BSL) Program is to equip participants with the essential tools, skills, and expertise to confidently assume leadership positions in academia, administration, government, and industry. BSL is available to all advanced graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, staff scientists, instructors, clinical fellows, and early career faculty at Einstein. A particular focus will be given to recruiting individuals from groups historically underrepresented in science and medicine.
“There are numerous non-technical skills that are essential for career advancement, but for which there is very little formal instruction for postdoctoral fellows,” said Anne Bresnick, Ph.D., associate dean for postdoctoral affairs, director of the Belfer Institute for Advanced Biomedical Studies, and professor of biochemistry at Einstein. “From leadership and management skills to personal resiliency and emotional intelligence, our new training program will help participants develop the critical skills that will make them more competitive for a range of biomedical careers.”
The BSL curriculum consists of a wide range of current Einstein courses, such as Responsible Conduct of Research and Fundamentals of Course Design, as well as newly developed workshops on an assortment of topics. In addition to those named above, areas of training include communication, mentorship, leadership and management, cultural competency, grantsmanship, and career management.
“Earning a Ph.D. degree is an undeniable achievement, but learning and training should not stop there,” said Diane Safer, Ph.D., director of career and professional development for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, and assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Einstein. “Scientists need to proactively hone vital professional skills, and this program offers direct instruction, with experts delivering a formal, evidence-based curriculum.”
Given the breadth of offerings, participants can design their own individualized curriculum, selecting the courses that fit their specific needs and goals. The time commitment for any single course is limited – many will meet on a weekly basis for four to eight weeks. The scheduling is also flexible, with courses untethered from the traditional academic calendar.
“Participants can start taking classes at any time, and dip in and out of the program as their schedule permits,” said Victoria Freedman, Ph.D., associate dean for graduate programs in biomedical sciences and director of the graduate program at Einstein. “We understand that participants have important clinical and lab responsibilities that can make it challenging to commit to semester-long classes, so we’ve structured the program to be flexible enough to accommodate these demands. Since the skills our participants will develop will have a direct impact on improving the quality of their work, we expect principal investigators, mentors, and clinical directors will embrace the program.”
NIH and Institutional Support
BSL was launched with a supplementary grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) totaling $250,000 over two years to John Greally, D.Med., Ph.D., professor of genetics and of pediatrics, chief of genomics, and director of the Center for Epigenomics at Einstein. The program was expanded beyond the purview of the federal funding, making it an important new addition to Einstein’s education and training portfolio.
“We see a lot of opportunity for this program, and a way to respond to the evolving needs of our participants,” said Ariel Fishman, Ph.D., senior director for institutional research assessment and reporting at Einstein. “This could include submitting the program to the New York State Education Department for a formal certificate credential or, perhaps eventually, a master’s degree.”
The program was developed collaboratively under the leadership and direction of Drs. Bresnick, Freedman, Safer, and Fishman. The grant is titled “The Einstein-Montefiore Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) Mentorship program” (3R01AG057422-06S2).