Varying Backgrounds: Q&A With Mallory Perry, PhD, RN, New Diversity Fellow

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Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia views diversity as a key driver of achievement, particularly when innovation is critical. As a way to enhance the recruitment of a diverse population of postdoctoral fellows, the Office of Academic Training and Outreach Programs at the Research Institute established the Postdoctoral Research Fellowship for Academic Diversity in partnership with the University of Pennsylvania, offering fellows from CHOP and Penn the opportunity to form a cohesive cohort and take advantage of programming and support at both institutions.

Here’s a short synopsis about Mallory Perry, PhD, RN, a nurse scientist working with her mentor, Martha Curley, PhD, RN, FAAN. Read the full interview.

Tell us about your background…

My background is in pediatric critical care nursing. After working in a pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) for several years, I realized I had more questions than answers about critical care outcomes, and that was unsettling for me. In an effort to solve some of these questions, I pursued my PhD in nursing science, with emphasis on biobehavioral research. In my final year of doctoral study, I realized I needed additional training and mentorship to achieve my career goals in conducting large, multi-site trials focusing on long-term outcomes of PICU hospitalization.

What does diversity in research and science mean to you?

Being a black woman, as well as a nurse, makes me quite diverse in the biomedical research realm. The importance of diversity in research is that we each have varying backgrounds to draw upon. Whether these varying backgrounds are scientific, professional, or cultural, these experiences shape the way in which we approach problems and questions. It is highly beneficial to look at a problem from another angle or lens, which we alone may not possess. Rich diversity is vital to advancing biomedical science, particularly symptom science and precision healthcare, considering there are no one-size-fits-all solutions. Each child and family we care for is unique, and as such, the research we conduct must be uniquely tailored to address their needs.