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2015 Pilot 5 of 5

UB’s Community Based Disparities Research Mentoring Fellowship

Principal Investigator: Laurene Tumiel Berhalter, PhD
University of Buffalo

Minority researchers are among the critically underrepresented populations in biomedical sciences. This is particularly challenging for building capacity in community-based health disparities research. The “UB Community Based Disparities Research Mentoring Fellowship” program will develop and facilitate interdisciplinary mentor-mentee teams for underrepresented faculty to enhance community-based research to reduce health disparities. Our goal is to support the career development and progression of community based researchers to address health disparities with emphasis on developing underrepresented researchers through the development of interdisciplinary mentoring teams and the utilization of a committed coach to help navigate new partnerships and provide intermediary guidance. We will integrate the existing program with the new program to answer a few research questions: 1) How does a one year mentorship program compare with a two year program?, 2) what is the impact of the “coaching” role on mentee success?, and 3) what are the key elements of a successful mentor/mentee relationship to build capacity in community based research?

This proposal spans the three National Research Mentoring Network (NRMN) cores by utilizing the Mentor and Networking Core, implementing metrics for evaluating mentor/mentee relationships, and facilitating mentees’ transition to independent careers. This program will build on the existing infrastructure of the University of Buffalo’s Civic Engagement and Public Policy (CEPP) Faculty Advisory Committee (FAC), with a particular emphasis on the recruitment and engagement of underrepresented fellows focused on health disparities research. This fellowship will support the development and/or strengthening of interdisciplinary mentoring teams of full-time faculty members or faculty teams at the university to further their community-based research and scholarship. In building the mentorship teams, mentees will be linked with a coach from CEPP who will assist with the identification of mentor and community partners, and the navigation of mentor-mentee relationship. Culturally responsive mentors will be identified internally at the university, and externally through the NRMN. Mentees must commit to collaborating with a community research partner and focus on reducing health disparities. Underrepresented applicants will be prioritized. The objectives of this fellowship are: 1) to assist the faculty member or team in developing a specific plan to, e.g., (a) develop or strengthen a community-based research program, or (b) transition to a new area of community-based health disparities research, 2) to assist the faculty member or team in developing a research proposal for extramural funding and provide critical review of proposals and manuscripts, and 3) to provide general advice to strengthen the likelihood of success in community-based disparities research. The fellowship may be used to create or nurture an interdisciplinary mentoring team to build capacity in community-based research through: creating new methodologies, developing or refining a research program, transferring to a new area of research, or other such activities. Our partnership with the Vice Provosts of Faculty Development and Inclusion and Equity will help us reach eligible faculty throughout UB. Recruitment and retention of underrepresented faculty is an area of commitment for our University and we hope that this fellowship will contribute to those efforts. The fellowship program will work closely with the NRMN to evaluate and track metrics of success. Outcomes will include acquisition of new knowledge or expertise, submission of grants and manuscripts, and development, establishment, or renewal of an active community-based research program. Receiving an NIH pilot project to help develop, implement, and study effective models of mentoring will not only assist the university in building its research capacity, but will have useful applications to research intensive universities across the country.

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