Fostering Scientific Curiosity and Encouraging BIPOC Students To Pursue Careers in Mental Health
July 31, 2022
One of the major challenges in health care today is addressing social determinants that can affect the quality of care a person receives. Central to improving that care is for patients to be able to see people who look like them—whether at the bench or the bedside.
That’s the central premise of the McLean Mental Health Research Summer Program (MMHRSP), a 10-week paid internship that brings Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) undergraduate students to McLean’s campus to gain valuable experience in neuroscience or clinical psychology research.
“The uniqueness of our program is that we’re in a psychiatric hospital, and so we focus solely on mental health research,” said Oluwarotimi Folorunso, PhD, a post-doctoral research fellow in McLean’s Translational Psychiatry Laboratory and director of the MMHRSP.
“There’s a need for people who look like members of the BIPOC community in those spaces doing the research, and on the clinical side as well.”
Several generous McLean donors recognized the importance of the effort, which is funded entirely through philanthropy, and eagerly stepped forward to support it. The initiative appealed to Mary and Bob Lentz for its focus on underrepresented populations.
“We loved it because it supports not just the fellows but the many people who will benefit from the research these young scientists go on to do,” said Mary.
With the launch of the initiative in 2021, seven students were selected as fellows and placed in research labs within the Jerry and Phyllis Rappaport Center of Excellence in Basic Neuroscience Research and the Center for Depression, Anxiety and Stress Research. Each fellow received a $6,000 stipend.