McLean Mental Health Research Summer Program (MMHRSP)

McLean Mental Health Research Summer Program (MMHRSP) is a 10-week summer neuroscience and clinical research experience for undergraduate students from underrepresented groups in mental health research careers or disadvantaged backgrounds.

Published: 06/02/2021

According to the 2021 census, 49% of the total US population identifies as a member of an historically underrepresented or marginalized racial or ethnic group (including 18.9% Hispanic or Latino, 13.6% Black, 1.3% American Indian and Alaska Native, 0.3% Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander)(Bureau, 2021). However, there is still a disproportionate representation of individuals from these groups in mental health research careers (MHRC) including neuroscience, clinical psychology, or psychiatry (Fig. 1). Notably, these numbers consistently decline along the career trajectory advancement (Advisors, 2017) (Association, 2019) (Wyse et al., 2020).

MMHRSP aims to increase representation in mental health research and careers by providing paid research opportunities, committed long-term mentorship, academic networking, and community engagement and STEM outreach (Folorunso et al., 2022).

Impact Assessment: The impact of MMHRSP is measured according to six main domains: 1) Mentorship - evaluates the mentor-mentee and MMHRSP-mentee relationship past the program. 2) Academics - evaluates the effective continuation of studies in MHRC. 3) Scholarship - which evaluates the program’s impact on trainee's research productivity. 4) Professional endeavors - evaluates the program's impact on trainees' career choice. 5) Outreach activities - evaluates to what extent do trainees engage with their communities with the help of the program. 6) Psychosocial support - evaluates inclusiveness and sensitivity of the research environment to the shared and unique psychosocial stressors faced by under-represented and disadvantaged students in academia.

Testimonial: “...I was able to speak to an immense group of researchers, graduate program directors, and those who are completing their doctoral requirements. …I was able to gain insight on the experience of having to work in the research field, how to apply to graduate schools, and finding ways in which I can advance my career in research by applying for outside events such as seminars and conferences. I was also placed with an amazing PI who worked one on one with me with reviewing my CV, gaining more knowledge on the research I was specifically working on in the summer and even helping me with applications to become a Research Assistant to gain more experience in research.” – 2021 MMHRSP Trainee


  1. Advisors, M. (2017). Report of Neuroscience Departments & Programs Survey (Academic Year 2016-2017).
  2. Association, A. P. (2019). CWS Data Tool: Demographics of the U.S. Psychology Workforce. American Psychological Association.
  3. Bureau, U. S. C. (2021). QuickFacts, United States.
  4. Folorunso, O. O., Burns White, K., Alonso-Caraballo, Y., Nowicki, G. P., Olson, E. A., Pizzagalli, D. A., Carlezon, W. A., Jr., Ressler, K. J., & Chartoff, E. H. (2022, Dec). Building an intentional and impactful summer research experience to increase diversity in mental health research. Neuropsychopharmacology, 47(13), 2189-2193.
  5. Wyse, R., Hwang, W. T., Ahmed, A. A., Richards, E., & Deville, C., Jr. (2020, Oct). Diversity by Race, Ethnicity, and Sex within the US Psychiatry Physician Workforce. Acad Psychiatry, 44(5), 523-530.

Summer 2023 alumni group; summer 2022 group photo on final presentations day; 2022 student presenter (l)
and brain study experience (r) in HBTRC (Harvard Brain Tissue Resource Center) McLean lab "Brain Bank."