Public Release: 

APS celebrates 50 years of diversity in physiology during Porter Fellowship anniversary

APS, William T. Porter Foundation allocate millions in support of minority physiologists

Experimental Biology 2017

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Credit: APS

Since 1967, the American Physiological Society's (APS's) Porter Physiology Development Fellowship has supported 140 minority doctoral and postdoctoral researchers in the study of the physiological sciences and related careers. APS takes great pride in this program--initiated years before similar programs were offered by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Science Foundation (NSF) and other scientific funding organizations--that has helped increase diversity both in physiology and within the APS membership. In honor of the anniversary, APS will celebrate current and past Porter Fellows and the legacy of the Fellowship at its annual meeting at Experimental Biology in Chicago and throughout the anniversary year. In addition, APS has compiled a short history of the program along with stories of the program's pioneers and a collection of profiles of past Fellows in a new book.

The Porter Fellowship was established by physiologist and APS benefactor William Townsend Porter, PhD. APS, in conjunction with the William T. Porter Foundation, has continuously awarded and administered the Fellowship since 1921, with the exception of the years during World War II (1943-1946). In the mid-1960s, as the conversation around diversity and inclusion came to the forefront, APS members and leadership--including A. Clifford Barger, PhD, and Edward W. Hawthorne, PhD, who would go on to be long-serving Porter Committee co-chairs, and Edward P. Radford, PhD -- saw an opportunity to bring more talented minority researchers into physiology and APS membership. APS made the decision to designate the prestigious and long-standing Porter Fellowship as one that exclusively recognized talented minority predoctoral (and later postdoctoral) students in physiology.

In 1967, Joseph Hinds became the first minority physiologist to receive the Porter Fellowship. Today, Porter Fellows receive more than $28,000 in support in each year of the Fellowship. The 2016-2017 cohort includes eight Fellows who carry on the tradition of excellence in physiological research.

"APS made the smart choice to invest in diversity in science years before NIH, NSF and other research-funding organizations made support of minority scientists a priority," says APS Executive Director Martin Frank, PhD. "This investment has paid dividends in the many past Fellows who've gone on to serve as researchers, administrators, teachers, mentors and role models for an ever-increasing group of minority scientists that have followed in their footsteps. Though there's still work to be done, the field of physiology is richer because of their contributions."

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To learn more about the program, read "The Porter Fellowship at 50: A Celebration of Diversity in Physiology" or visit http://www.the-aps.org/porter.

NOTE TO JOURNALISTS: APS will celebrate the achievements of current and past Fellows at the APS annual meeting at Experimental Biology in Chicago on April 23. To arrange interviews with Fellows or APS leadership or to learn more about the program, contact the APS Communications Office (communications@the-aps.org; 301-634-7209).

About Experimental Biology 2017

Experimental Biology is an annual meeting comprised of more than 14,000 scientists and exhibitors from six sponsoring societies and multiple guest societies. With a mission to share the newest scientific concepts and research findings shaping clinical advances, the meeting offers an unparalleled opportunity for exchange among scientists from across the United States and the world who represent dozens of scientific areas, from laboratory to translational to clinical research. http://www.experimentalbiology.org

About the American Physiological Society (APS)

Physiology is the study of how molecules, cells, tissues and organs function in health and disease. Established in 1887, the American Physiological Society (APS) was the first U.S. society in the biomedical sciences field. The Society represents more than 10,500 members and publishes 15 peer-reviewed journals with a worldwide readership.

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