The kickoff of the 3rd cohort of the Grantwriting Uncovered: Maximizing Strategies, Help, Opportunity, Experience (GUMSHOE) took place September 28-30, 2016 at Wayne State University (WSU) in Detroit, Michigan. This cohort consists of 23 mentees and 13 coaches and has a focus on Black/African American populations. The kickoff event was staffed by Minti Henderson and Carol Talbott from the Michigan Center for Urban African American Aging Research (MCUAAAR). MCUAAAR is supported by a grant from the National Institutes of Health, 5P30 AG015281, and is co-directed by Drs. James S. Jackson and Peter Lichtenberg. MCUAAAR faculty members Drs. Mark Luborsky, Louis Penner, and James McNally are also serving as GUMSHOE mentors for this cohort. GUMSHOE is directed by Drs. Dedra Buchwald, Washington State University, and Spero Manson, University of Colorado – Denver.
The GUMSHOE kickoff began with some opening words from Dr. Keith E. Whitfeld, WSU Provost. Dr. Whitfield provided encouraging advice to learn strategies to “get into and navigate” the NIH, stating it takes multiple experiences such as GUMSHOE participation, persistence and time, and utilization of networks and mentors.
Above: Dr. Whitfield addressing mentees during the opening remarks.
Buchwald and Manson, along with Dr. Robert Freishtat of Children’s National Medical Center, continued the session. Freishtat set the groundwork for the remainder of the kickoff and program with presentations on the current state of NIH, an overview of the extramural NIH mechanisms of funding (R and K), and a presentation entitled, “Reading and Interpreting RFAs and PAs”. He followed this with a lecture on developing specific aims and hypotheses by writing a concise and captivating first page. He asked the mentees to convincingly describe their proposals in three sentences. The statements encouraged the mentees to persuasively present their proposal by stating what unexplained and concerning problem existed, and how their research would provide a solution to the problem. This exercise pushed the mentees to write a clear and concise first page to grab the reviewers’ attention. The kickoff continued with mentees and coaches breaking into subgroups to go over each mentees’ specific aims page as well as other presentations related to writing NIH grants.
Above: From left to right: Freishtat, Buchwald, and Manson addressing mentees during GUMSHOE kickoff session.
After the kickoff event, mentees meet regularly with their assigned coaches over the subsequent six months. During those six months, mentees will receive ongoing feedback from their coach regarding the progress of their grant proposal.
GUMSHOE is offered 2 times per year. To optimize mentee/coach interactions and to align workshop emphases, each program cycle focuses specifically on conducting National Institutes of Health (NIH)-sponsored research with a given population(s). These populations include 1) American Indians, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, and Other Pacific Islanders; 2) African Americans; 3) Hispanics or Latinos; 4) Rural communities, and 5) other pre-specified populations. The next cohort will be mid-2017 and will focus on Hispanic or Latino populations.
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