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Our Work

The Microbiology Leaders Evolving and Accountable to Progress (MicroBio-LEAP) project is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). MicroBio-LEAP will train leaders to embody inclusive diversity with equity, access and accountability (IDEAA) and promote sustained cultural change in the microbial sciences to make the field more welcoming of individuals belonging to historically excluded groups (HEGs).

Our Mission: Training Leaders to Leverage Influence for Inclusive Diversity

Given their high-level positions, microbiology leaders have the capability to influence policies and practices that affect the culture of their workplaces and organizations. The ToL Scholars Program will give leaders the knowledge and skills necessary to take action toward cultural change. ToL scholars will:

  • Challenge their unconscious biases.
  • Increase their intercultural awareness and skillset.
  • Learn how to create a psychologically safe working environment, which encourages diversity and inclusion.

At the program’s conclusion, the scholars will hold the strategies and skills necessary to operate as IDEAA champions and foster inclusive environments across the field.

Training of Leaders Scholars Program Details

The open call for the ToL Scholars Program is now closed. Applications are currently under review. The disposition letters will be distributed in mid- to late- November.

Course Structure

  • Duration: 16 sessions, held approximately every 2 weeks, over a 10-month period, and 1 in-person summit before ASM Microbe 2024.
  • Curriculum Summary: 5 modules taught virtually through lecture, small group collaborative learning pods and large group reflection exercises.
  • Final Deliverable: Develop a proposal for an IDEAA-related policy or recommendation.


We are seeking 25 scholars who represent a heterogeneous cross-section of the microbial sciences community. Successful applicants possess the following credentials:

  • Leader level in the microbial sciences or a related discipline (e.g., immunological sciences).
  • Employed in academia, government, non-profit or industry.
  • History of interest and involvement in IDEAA-related activities, but does not need to be from a DEI-related department nor be an IDEAA champion.


ASM is partnering with the Association of Medical School Microbiology and Immunology Chairs (AMSMIC) to assist with the recruitment of scholars from academia who can influence institutional policies and practices. AMSMIC shares ASM's goal of making the microbial sciences one of the most diverse and inclusive STEM disciplines.

MicroBio-LEAP's Theory of Change

ASM’s existing IDEAA efforts focus on supporting and uplifting HEGs from the microbial sciences. The Training of Leaders (ToL) Scholars Program focuses on individuals on the opposite end of the spectrum to enact change: those in leadership positions.

Leaders can function as cultural change agents within the microbial sciences, as they possess influence to incorporate IDEAA into their workplaces’ policies and practices. The goal of the MicroBio-LEAP program is that, as leaders’ workplaces embrace IDEAA, the microbial sciences will experience a cultural paradigm shift, one that creates a more welcoming environment and an enhanced sense of belonging for HEGs.

Culture and Climate Shift, Microbio-LEAP Project takes a top down approach to compliment ASM's existing DEI activities which are bottom up.