Dr. Olujimi Ajijola, an associate professor of medicine at the UCLA Cardiac Arrhythmia Center, received a $1.15 million award from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative to rethink the physician-scientist training pipeline to enhance diversity. The Science Diversity Leadership program, launched earlier this year by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, honors researchers who promote diversity, equity and inclusion in their scientific fields. 

Over the next five years, Ajijola plans to connect the many programs already working on diversifying medicine and form a coalition of national physician groups to broaden the network of people addressing this issue. His ideas include opening up the path to becoming a physician-scientist later on in life and tracking students of color already on their career paths.     

Ajijola looks forward to addressing the lack of diversity, which he sees on a daily basis, in the physician-scientist profession. “It is a huge problem on the national scale, and something needs to be done,” he said.