Southeast Training Hub
October 28-29, 2017
Written by Meldra Hall, MPH
“The fourth Southeast Training Hub (SETH) grant writing training was successfully launched in collaboration with the Research Centers in Minority Institutions (RCMI) at the RCMI Translational Science Conference. This was advantageous because of the offerings that were afforded our trainees including an unprecedented level of engagement with NIH program officers as well as various innovative sessions with dialogue surrounding scientific advancement. These coaching groups provide a unique opportunity for scholars to engage with established investigators as they pursue research independence. ”- Elizabeth Ofili, MD, MPH, FACC
The National Research Mentoring Network (NRMN) Research Resources and Outreach Core (RROC) held its 4th Southeast Training Hub (SETH) Grant Writing Training event October 28-29, 2017 in Washington DC. The event was hosted by NRMN RROC PI, Elizabeth Ofili, MD, MPH, FACC and her team through the NRMN Research Resources and Outreach Core (RROC). It was collaboratively supported by the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Minority Health and Health Disparities Research Center (MHRC) and the Research Centers in Minority Institutions Translational Research Network (RTRN).
The two-day event opened with a warm welcome from Dr. Ofili and included grant writing coaching sessions throughout the two days. Day 1 began with the Coaches’ training session on a Novel Coaching-Group Approach to Developing Grant Writing Skills, led by Richard McGee, PhD, NRMN Program Director for the Northwestern University model Grant Writing Coaching Group. Dr. McGee lead the workshop by exploring innovative ways to incorporate grant writing techniques.
Day 1 also included the coaches training where coaches were training on facilitating of group/peer-to-peer mentoring. Dr. McGee explained how the peer-to-peer model was developed and why trainees benefit from hearing the perspectives of other junior faculty at similar career levels.
On the second day of the Grant Writing training, trainees engaged in conversation about writing structure and techniques. All coaching sessions were held with a goal of helping new health equity investigators pursue research independence. Participants included senior faculty, junior faculty, and post-doctoral fellows from 20 different institutions across the United States. The event provided training for 22 junior faculty and post-docs and 5 coaches. Five senior faculty coaches led the grant writing coaching groups.
After the overview of the Grant Writing Coaching groups, the trainees participated in breakout sessions with their assigned coaching groups. Coaching groups included a lead coach and 4-5 junior faculty divided by the type of research – basic, clinical/translational and social/behavioral. In the coaching groups, each trainee presented the specific aims of their proposed research to the group for review and feedback. This face-to-face kick-off session launched a four to six-month period where the groups will
reconvene via a virtual platform to continue reviewing and refining their grant proposals, with the goal of submitting a competitive grant application at the end of the coaching season.
During the session, A Novel Coaching-Group Approach to Developing Grant Writing Skills, Dr. McGee provides an introduction to the coaching group model and the resources that trainees will be afforded over the next few months.
A response from a trainee on their experience with the coaching group noted, “The initial meeting provided an opportunity for me to meet my group members and other attendees in person before jumping into our online Flock meetings. I made some great personal connections with the attendees beyond our work time. They provided me with very thoughtful feedback on how to improve my opening paragraph and develop stronger, more concrete specific aims. This was a great opportunity to get to know everyone before we began our formal coaching process. Additionally, it was great to hear from Dr. McGee and ask specific questions about how to structure and strengthen our specific aims pages. I am confident that I will be prepared to submit a competitive grant application after this training.”
Overall, the NRMN SETH Training was very successful and there is much excitement about the utilization of the Health Disparities Learning Collaboratory.