Spero M. Manson, PhD.

​By Laura Parker | University Communications

AURORA, Colo. –  Spero M. Manson, PhD, Distinguished Professor of Public Health and Psychiatry with the Centers for American Indian and Alaska Native Health at the Colorado School of Public Health at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, is part of a collaborative team that was awarded a $19 million National Research Mentoring Network (NRMN) grant for a “Diverse Biomedical Workforce” from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). 

Over the next month, the team will begin implementing a plan to address the relative lack of underrepresented minorities within the field of biomedical research. The team will facilitate long-term, culturally responsive interactions among mentees and mentors. NRMN will establish a sustainable process whereby biomedical workers move forward in their research careers, ultimately becoming effective leaders and mentors. 

The NRMN initiative is intended to facilitate the development of robust mentoring relationships by coordinating nationwide pairings of scientific leaders and early career scientists (undergraduate students through junior faculty members) who may benefit from additional mentoring, including but not limited to individuals from underrepresented backgrounds.

“The biomedical research enterprise must engage all sectors of the population in order to solve the most complex biological problems and discover innovative news ways to improve human health,” said NIH Director Francis S. Collins, MD, PhD. “While past efforts to diversify our workforce have had significant impact on individuals, we have not made substantial progress in supporting diversity. This program will test new models of training and mentoring so that we can ultimately attract the best minds from all groups to biomedical research.”

NRMN will be implemented nationwide with over 30 professional scientific societies along with a number of colleges and universities including historically black colleges and universities. The network will also include a consortia of Hispanic serving institutions and organizations that support tribal colleges.

The west/great plains hub of this program will be directed by Dr. Manson.  In this role, his responsibilities will include working closely with those involved to coordinate the partnerships within this region, partnering with other organizations within the west/great plains region not currently involved, but interested in engaging with NRMN, and building participation of mentor and mentees from regional institutions in NRMN activities.

Under the direction of Manson, the Colorado School  of Public Health’s Centers for American Indian and Alaska Native Health focus on promoting health and well-being of Alaska Natives and American Indians by pursuing research, training, education, and information dissemination within the framework that recognizes the unique cultural background of this population.