McLean Mental Health Research Summer Program (MMHRSP)

MMHRSP is a 10-week, hands-on, mentored neuroscience research experience for underrepresented BIPOC MA undergraduates - launched summer 2021!

Published: 06/02/2021

Underrepresented Black and Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC) rarely think of neuroscience research, study neuroscience, pursue higher degrees in neuroscience, or seek careers in neuroscience - particularly neuroscience research aimed at understanding and treating mental health. This lack of diverse backgrounds, experiences, and intellect is unacceptable for global mental health welfare. The MMHRSP is one tiny step to rectify this.

This program was conceptualized and championed by faculty and trainees in McLean’s Basic Neuroscience Division (BND). A core group including Oluwarotimi Folorunso, Ph.D. (Director, postdoc), Elena Chartoff, Ph.D. (Faculty Director, Associate Professor), Stephanie Maddox, Ph.D., Yanaira Alonso-Caraballo, Ph.D., and Teniel Ramikie, Ph.D. formed McLean’s Neuroscience Diversity Steering Committee (NDSC) and developed a plan for the program. These neuroscientists have since collaborated with the hospital’s Development office; Office of the Chief Academic Officer (OCAO); Anti-Racist, Justice, and Health Equity Task Force; and the SPARED Conte Center to ensure success for the program’s inaugural year.

The impact of MMHRSP will be measured by answering the following four questions. Do MMHRSP students get accepted to neuroscience graduate programs? Do MMHRSP students explore mental health research as a career? Do MMHRSP students publish their research findings in peer-reviewed journals and present their work at national conferences? Do MMHRSP students become actively involved in educating their communities about mental health research?

This project is made possible by funding from SPARED and McLean philanthropic support.